What is a Smoker’s Lung Disease?

When smoking a cigarette, you inhale over 7,000 chemicals that travel deep into the lungs. A smoker’s lungs become inflamed, and the airways produce too much mucus, leading to issues like smoker lung, coughing, pneumonia, and lung cancer.

Smoker Lung vs Healthy Lung

Healthy lung compared to smoker lungCigarette smoke and chemicals like nicotine, permanently affect a smoker’s body. Cilia, hairlike structures found on cells, typically clean and remove chemicals, dust, and dirt. However, nicotine in tobacco paralyzes the cilia, eventually destroying them. The lack of cilia movement and an overproduction of mucus results in smokers’ lungs. The walls of the lungs begin to break down and eventually lead to emphysema, or shortness of breath. Additionally, the tar from smoking tobacco builds up inside the lungs, causing them to turn black.

These conditions are why smoking changes the lungs and why there is a distinct difference better a smoker’s lungs and a non-smoker’s lungs.

Healthy Lungs Smoker Lung
Pink Color Gray or Black Color
Normal Size Hyperinflated
Zero Inflammation Inflamed Patches
Dome-Shaped Diaphragm Muscle Loss in Diaphragm

What Are the Symptoms of Smoker Lung?

A smoker’s lung symptoms may vary depending on the type of smoke inhaled, length of time exposed, and whether exposed firsthand or secondhand. Common symptoms of smoker’s lung and lung cancer include:

  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lung infections
  • Hoarseness
  • Pain in shoulders, arms, and hands
  • Unexplained fever

Smoking cigarettes causes more than 480,000 deaths each year; meaning that every one in five deaths is due to smoking. It is essential to understand the signs and symptoms of smokers’ lung illnesses. Additionally, if feeling unwell, visiting a medical professional, or receiving a second opinion can increase the chances of recovery.

Other Respiratory Diseases

Smoking can increase the risk of other respiratory conditions, too. Regular smokers experience an increased risk for lung cancer, esophageal cancer, and worsening their mesothelioma condition. Smoking also increases the risk of other respiratory conditions like COPD and pneumonia. In the United States, about 80% of all COPD-related deaths are traced to smoking.

Can Lung Damage From Smoking be Reversed?

After determining a patient’s condition, effective treatment can begin. Treatment for cancers like mesothelioma and lung cancer often includes typical cancer therapies like radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy. Medical professionals often treat COPD and pneumonia with oxygen therapy, heart and respiration monitoring, and steroid prescriptions.

How to Quit Smoking

Before undergoing treatment, patients will need to quit smoking to improve their life expectancy. Although a smoker’s lungs may not be reversed, quitting smoking has an immediate positive impact on the lungs. However, quitting can be very difficult. Tips to quit smoking include:

  • Consider why quitting would be beneficial
  • Set a date to quit when there will be little stress
  • Seek support
  • Keep a regular sleep schedule
  • Detox the lungs

How to Detox the Lungs

To bring back healthy lungs, patients can undergo a “detox” to protect themselves. Avoiding exposure to dangerous secondhand smoke and vaping can help the lungs recover. Additionally, preventing infection, avoiding vaping products, eating a rich diet, and exercising can all strengthen the lungs. Undergoing a detox and treatment can assist in the journey to becoming a survivor.