The effects of smoking and asthma on performance

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What effect does smoking and having asthma have on the respiratory system even for elite
Smoking can impair lung function and can lead to a decrease in overall health. Damage to the
respiratory system from smoking is slow and can be deadly if left to progress to dangerous levels.
A healthy respiratory system is continuously cleansed by the mucus produced by the respiratory
tubules. These traps dirt and disease-causing organisms, which cilia sweep toward the mouth,
where it can be dealt with and removed. With the very first inhalation of smoke, the beating of the
cilia slows. With further time, the cilia become paralyzed and eventually are removed altogether.
The loss of cilia leads to the development of smoker's cough.
Because the loss of cilia means mucus is no longer effectively removed, this leads to more
coughing as this mucus must be removed somehow and this can be worst in the morning as mucus
accumulates over night. This build up of mucus is not good as it clogs up airways making breathing
difficult and the lungs cannot work effectively if they are not receiving enough air through
Smoking also leads to an increase in the risk of gaining respiratory diseases and infections like
chronic bronchitis from a bad smoker's cough or emphysema. Emphysema is caused when mucus
production increases and the lining of the bronchioles thicken, making breathing difficult. The
bronchioles lose elasticity and are no longer able to absorb the pressure within the alveoli
(microscopic air sacs) enough to rupture the delicate alveolar walls. This is a smoking induced
The effects of smoking on performance:
Smoking decreases the efficiency of the respiratory system to take in and supply oxygen to our
working muscles. When we exercise, our heart rate increases in order to meet the blood oxygen
demands of our muscles. Generally, the faster our heart rate, the more oxygen the working
muscles need. Cigarettes contain carbon monoxide, which binds to the haemoglobin in our blood
more effectively than oxygen does, which means that the muscles are unable to get the oxygen
that they require during exercise which makes our heart work even harder. This result in fatigue
occurring sooner and more lactic acid building up as there is less oxygen to remove the unwanted
products our muscles produce when performing exercise.
As well as reducing our body's oxygen intake, smoking also narrows our blood vessels. This makes
pumping blood throughout our body a slower and more difficult process while performing. It also
puts extra strain on your heart every time it pumps because it has to work harder in order to
supply your body with the blood oxygen it needs to function and provide the muscles with the
demand of oxygen they need.
Asthma is a common long-term condition that can cause problems like coughing, wheezing, chest
tightness and breathlessness. The severity of these symptoms varies from person to person and
some people can be control it well most of the time, although some people may have more
Matt Witchell

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Occasionally, asthma symptoms can get gradually or suddenly worse. This is
known as an "asthma attack".
Asthma is caused by the inflammation of small tubes called bronchi, which carry air in and out of
the lungs. For people who have asthma, the bronchi are inflamed and more sensitive than normal.
When you come into contact with something that irritates your lungs your airways become
narrow, the muscles around them tighten, and there is an increase in the production of sticky
mucus.…read more


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