The lung is undoubtedly the organ that suffers most from regular cigarette consumption. If you smoke a lot of cigarettes every day, you will ingest harmful substances with every single draught, which find their way directly into the lungs when you inhale them.
So it’s not surprising that toxins such as tar, nicotine or acetone eventually leave lasting traces in the lungs – the so-called smoker’s lung. But what exactly is this and what can you do about it?
The Smoker’s Lung – How do I Determine Whether I Have one Myself?
Surely as a smoker you have seen shocking pictures of porous, black discoloured lungs on cigarette packets. But what really makes a so-called smoker’s lung? Although the organ then usually looks worrisome, even as a heavy smoker you often don’t even have to actively notice complaints. It may well be that you yourself are affected without knowing it.
Typical symptoms, however, are shortness of breath, poor condition, coughing or even shortness of breath in a wide variety of situations. Even if you frequently cough mucus, this is a signal. Then it is high time that you do something about it before the condition of your lungs worsens. This is even more drastic if you suffer from asthma, because this is not compatible with heavy smoking.
It’s best to see a doctor immediately if you have any symptoms, who will examine your lungs and their current condition. He can answer open questions and give you advice. What every doctor will advise you, you surely already know yourself: Stopping smoking completely is of course the healthiest solution.
Can a Smoker's Lung be Cured Again?
Perhaps you are of the opinion that your lungs must be so destroyed anyway that stopping smoking is no longer worth it. But you are wrong, because many people notice a significant improvement in their symptoms if they keep their hands off cigarettes: Less shortness of breath, better condition and hardly any coughing – these are just a few of the many positive effects.
So far, however, it has not been possible to make a general statement as to whether and to what extent smokers’ lungs can fully recover, because there are no scientific studies on this yet. Rather, the chance of recovery depends on how long and how intensively you have smoked so far.
Nevertheless, even if you are a long-time smoker, you should never be discouraged – it is always sensible and right to quit smoking. This is because the harmful influence does not diminish even after many years. Every cigarette you smoke increasingly damages your lungs and many other organs. Over time, this can lead to chronic illnesses. So you should be aware that it is never too late to stop this process. In any case, you are preventing the consequences of smoking from progressing – and that alone is worth a lot.
What Really Happens in The Lungs During Smoking?
You already know the typical symptoms of smoker’s lungs: slimy cough with expectoration, shortness of breath and occasional shortness of breath – but what really happens inside the lungs when you pull a cigarette?
The harmful substances in the vapour enter the cells of the respiratory tract, where they can lead to changes. These cells produce more mucus and eventually stick together. The consequence of this: The mucus can no longer be properly removed by the cilia that are also there – and instead sticks to your bronchi.
In the morning you usually cough up this mucus vigorously, which is equivalent to sputum in a cold. However, if you stop smoking, the cells and cilia can regenerate – so even an unpleasant smoker’s cough can say goodbye at some point.
Smoking can also lead to chronic inflammation of your airways – the longer you smoke, the longer this inflammation lasts and can develop into chronic bronchitis. At some point, your entire lung tissue will become less stable and you will have more and more problems.
The Effects of Smoking: Lung Cancer, Clogged Arteries, Bronchitis and More
A typical consequence of chronic bronchitis is that the walls of your airways thicken over time. This leads to instability and even complete collapse of your lungs. As a result, there are numerous pathological chain reactions in your body that hinder your respiratory flow in the long run.
In smokers’ lungs, this obstruction often manifests itself in the form of a narrowing of the airways, which you can notice especially when breathing out.
Air then accumulates where the airways are narrowed and the lungs collapse. This can lead to dangerous shortness of breath. If you want to accelerate regeneration, try to heal and clean your lungs as quickly as possible and stop smoking completely – the same applies to clogged arteries.
Conclusion: It is Never Too Late for Your Lungs to Recover
No matter if after 3 years, after 10 years or after 20 years – the before and after effect is huge if you decide to quit smoking. The drastic consequences for your health show how dangerous cigarette smoking really is.
The “smoker’s lung lie”, which is often referred to as this, is therefore not a panic-mongering, but a mere truth. As an ex-smoker you will quickly notice that your lung function improves significantly – and your skin and other organs clearly benefit from it.
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