Your lungs are complex organs, but what they do is take a gas that your body needs to get rid of (carbon dioxide) and exchange it for a gas that your body can use (oxygen).
In this edition of How Stuff Works, we will take a close look at how your lungs work and how they keep your body’s cells supplied with oxygen and get rid of the carbon dioxide waste.
We will explain some of the conditions and diseases that make breathing harder and cause the lungs to fail.
We will also explain why you can’t hold your breath for a long time and why you cough or hiccup.
To learn more, visit > How Stuff Works: Lungs
Smoker’s Lung Pathology
Cigarette smoking is associated with a wide variety of abnormalities throughout the body that cause not only illness, but also, all too often, death.
Indeed, if all deaths from diseases related to smoking (lung disease, heart disease, and cancers of many different organs) were considered, a case could be made for cigarette smoking as the leading cause of death in industrialized countries.
Ironically, it is also the most preventable cause of death in our society!
Updated Lung reports
They’ve been minimized and they’ve been marginalized, but the fact is holistic therapies–including acupuncture, homeopathy, massage therapy, aromatherapy, yoga, nutrition therapy, and dozens more–have been gaining greater mainstream acceptance.
According to a 1993 survey published in the New England Journal of Medicine, in 1991, about 21 million Americans made 425 million visits to practitioners of these types of alternative medicine; that’s more than the estimated 388 million visits we made to all primary care physicians that year.
Now a holistic approach where an individual’s situation and particular way of coping is addressed–and going cold turkey may not be necessary–is slowly beginning to influence the way people with addictions are treated. Holistic therapies are helping to bridge the gap between conventional, exclusively abstinence-oriented approaches and the newer, more controversial harm-reduction philosophy.
When addressing an addiction, all holistic techniques begin with the same basic philosophy: people develop addictions to correct an “imbalance” within them. Addicts become stuck, unaware, and unable to deal with their thoughts, feelings, and actions.
They may drink, take drugs, or eat to excess to disassociate from their deficiency. Holistic therapies work to restore balance by connecting mind and body. They take away some of the underlying causes of abuse by helping people become aware of and take responsibility for the way they think, feel, and act.