#7 Cause of Dementia: Lung Damage and Carbon Monoxide
The SEVENTH cause of Dementia in our series is SMOKING and VAPING.
When we think of damage caused by smoking and vaping, we usually think lungs, bronchial tubes and throat. Truly, both smoking and vaping seriously harm the respiratory system. But most of us don't adequately look at how smoking impact other body parts.
Smoking and vaping both decrease the ability of the lungs to get carbon dioxide out of the blood and oxygen in. Both harm the lungs. Smoke from all sources also harms the heart and blood vessels, both of which are needed to transport oxygen to the brain.
So, the first issue arising from all of this is a lack of oxygen to the brain and a proportionate failure to remove carbon dioxide from the brain.
But there's more. No matter what you are smoking, as it burns, it produces carbon MONoxide. Here's the problem:
You have around 20 to 30 trillion red blood cells, each containing hemoglobin. In normal operation, this hemoglobin picks up oxygen in your lungs and drops it off all over your body, including in your brain. As oxygen is dropped off, carbon dioxide is picked up. The red blood cells then deliver the CO2 to the lungs and pick up another load of oxygen.
Now we all know that carbon monoxide, such as that from car exhaust, can kill us. This is because carbon monoxide molecules attach themselves to the hemoglobin of the red blood cells and won't let go. This makes it so that the involved cells no longer can carry oxygen.
Unfortunately, smoking causes the same thing, red blood cells loaded with carbon monoxide. As in the car exhaust example, these cells then can no longer can carry oxygen. Yes, they are pumped around with all the rest of the blood and go everywhere red blood cells should go. Your brain sees one coming and expects a load of oxygen. But nope. Maybe in the next cell. No, none there either. The lack of oxygen in and carbon dioxide out results in brain cell damage.
How many brain cells can you afford to kill or cripple? That's up to you!
There is some good news. After perhaps six hours, most of the carbon monoxide is cleared through normal breathing. But tiny bits of brain damage have already been done. On top of that, most smokers will smoke again within these six hours, thereby reloading their red blood cells with more carbon monoxide.
I think we all know why we wouldn't want to have our heads held in a bucket of water for ten minutes. Smoking causes the same thing, just less of it and less suddenly. Your brain requires one-fourth of all the Oxygen you inhale. Smoking makes it difficult if not impossible to get all the oxygen your brain needs.
Remember, brain damage from any source contributes to long term brain malfunction. Alzheimer's and dementia care centers and their workers provide a very valuable service. But far better to avoid dementia as one's first choice.
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