Two beautiful light pink fluffy elastic sponges that supply your blood with oxygen. These sponges are in fact a complex but organized network of channels, through which air travels. From the trachea, air enters the two bronchi, which enter into the lungs. The bronchi branch into lobar bronchi, each of which supplies a specific lobe of the lungs. These lobes are masses of lung tissue separated by deep fissures, which are visible on the lung's surface. The lobar bronchi branch into segmental bronchi, which each supply a specific segment of the lungs. These segmental bronchi branch into terminal bronchioles which branch into respiratory bronchioles which eventually branch into alveolar ducts ending in tiny alveolar sacs. Oxygen travels through the sac membranes into capillaries, which drain the blood back into the pulmonary veins and eventually into the heart, so the oxygen-rich blood can be pumped to the rest of the body.
So you see, the lungs house a highly dense network of blood vessels, and a highly organized network of air passageways called the bronchiole tree. Through evolution, your lungs have been designed this way to give you a fighting chance in the unfortunate incident of a punctured lung. First of all, you have two lungs. If one is punctured severely enough, it will collapse. You can breath with the other lung until the surgeons operate. Because the bronchiole tree is so well organized, doctors can identify different segments of lung tissue, each supplied by a single segmental bronchi. This way, doctors can remove the damaged sections of your lung without affecting the rest of it. You're patched up and ready to go back to jousting or whatever else it was that you were doing.
However, smoking doesn't cause local damage like a puncture wound. It damages every tiny alveolar sac in your entire two lungs. Living in a city alone can deposit dust particles within your lungs permanently. Why deliberately obstruct the two organs that supply your body with the oxygen it needs to survive.
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Taking care of your lungs
22% of all cancers and 33% of all cancer deaths in men are due to lung cancer.
If you want your lungs to provide you with life instead of death, never smoke. If you're a guy, smoking will increase your chance of lung cancer 23 times. If you're a girl smoking will make you 13 times more likely to develop lung cancer. Lung cancer isn't fun unless you enjoy coughing up blood, chest pains and suffocating slowly. The same symptoms occur with emphysema, which destroys the lungs elasticity requiring the victim to gasp for breath day after day after day. Oh by the way, if you smoke, you're 19 times more likely to develop emphysema.
Secondary smoke is actually more toxic than inhaled smoke because much of it is unfiltered. If your family members smoke while driving you to school, ask them to refrain for the short period of time that you're in the car. If they continue anyway, open the window. When your friends ask if you mind, be honest with them and say yes. If they disregard your request, they don't respect your feelings. If you must, go to the hardware store and buy a filter to place over your nose and mouth. If this doesn't make your point, maybe taping photographs of lung cancer on your chest might do the job. However you choose to deal with live-in smokers, there is no reason you must suffer for their addiction.
If you live under polluted city air, exercising in the early morning or evening will decrease traffic related pollutants.
If you have a cough for over 2 weeks, especially if phlegm is produced, visit a doctor.
Exercise! Cardiovascular exercise is the most effective exercise for maintaining healthy lungs. Swimming is highly recommended to increase lung capacity. Regular exercise trains muscles to use oxygen more efficiently so you don't get so easily winded.
Many researchers believe (due to animal studies) that lack of oxygen plays a major role in causing cells to become malignant or cancerous. So breathe deeply! Breathing deeply also improves the circulation of your lymph and thus helps to cleanse your body of toxins.
You can do breathing exercises to further your lymph circulation, give you more energy and to make you more resistant to cancer. Here's how: 10 deep breaths 3 times a day. For each deep breath, inhale, hold your breath and exhale at a time ratio of 1:4:2. This means you can inhale for 7 seconds, hold it for 28 seconds, and exhale for 14 seconds. Or if this is stressful, try inhaling 4 seconds, holding 16 and exhaling 8. As long as you keep the 1:4:2 ratio your breaths should cleanse your body and provide you with more energy.
Get your annual influenza shot. A nasty bout with the flu can result in lasting lung damage and if it progresses to pneumonia it can even be fatal. In addition to your shots, make sure you get plenty of Vitamin C, you reduce your stress through exercise and relaxation, and you get 8 hours of sleep per night whenever possible, in order to reduce your susceptibility to colds and other respiratory infections.