Pain in the lungs during and after smoking: symptoms, causes, complications

Many smokers face pain in the lungs, but consider it a normal phenomenon that does not require a doctor. However, they forget that cigarette smoke contains carcinogens that literally destroy internal organs and can lead to irreversible consequences.

Pain in the lungs from smoking

Smoking affects negatively all the internal organs of a person, but first of all the lungs suffer. Resins contained in tobacco smoke accumulate in them. The structure of the paired organ is gradually destroyed, and that is why smokers often experience pain in the chest.

However, some experts argue that the lungs can not be sick, because they do not have nerve endings. But they have alveoli - small bubbles that stretch during inspiration and contract during exhalation, due to which a healthy person can easily breathe.

According to doctors, each cigarette causes the death of one alveolus. There are about 4 million of them in the lungs, so it may seem that there is nothing terrible in destroying one bubble. However, in one day a person smokes far more than one cigarette, and this lasts for years, and often - for decades.

After 10-15 years of regular smoking, a huge number of alveoli die. The lungs weaken, the general immunity of the organism decreases in parallel. Against this background may develop emphysema, tuberculosis and cancer.

For example, when emphysema decreases the elasticity of the lungs, in connection with which they begin to accumulate excess air. As a result, the paired organ strongly stretches. Excess air is not involved in the process of breathing, so the lungs can not work at full strength.

Pain in the lungs after smoking can give:

  1. Pleura( protective film is easy).
  2. Tracheal zone.
  3. Large bronchi.

Often the cause of pain is chronic bronchitis. This disease is typical for people who are dependent on nicotine.


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Resins and carcinogens from tobacco smoke settle on the walls of the bronchi. Due to constant smoking, the paired organ does not have time to clean. As a result, barriers that prevent the penetration of the infection are damaged.

Against the background of reduced immunity, harmful substances quickly accumulate in the bronchi. Their poisoning and obstruction develops. Since there are nerve endings on the bronchi, a person feels pain, which he takes as a pulmonary.

What is characteristic is that most people complain of lung pain when they try to stop smoking. This symptom often causes a person to return to a bad habit in order to ease their condition.

When tobacco smoke poisoning stops, human lungs and bronchi begin to be actively cleared of toxins accumulated in them. There are many people who are not coughing in the process of smoking. This is because the symptom is suppressed by nicotine.

After stopping smoking, everyone begins to suffer from a debilitating cough. With it goes mucous sputum, and the bronchi are cleaned. Prolonged attacks of severe coughing and are the answer to the question of why the lungs ache after quitting smoking.
On the video on the effects of smoking on the lungs and bronchi:

Reasons for

The reasons why a smoker suffers from lungs are divided into pulmonary and extrapulmonary.

Often the problem lies in the pathology of the lungs themselves or the bronchi, among them there are:

  • chronic bronchitis;
  • asthma;
  • pulmonary emphysema;
  • lung dysplasia;
  • lung cancer.

Often the sensation of pain in the lungs is associated with pathologies of other organs and systems that provoke long-term smoking:

  • cardiovascular diseases;
  • with gastrointestinal diseases;
  • joint damage;
  • myalgia;
  • with nervous disorders.

When pain is given to the left arm, behind the sternum or between the shoulder blades, this means that smoking caused serious heart problems. Shooting pain indicates the possible presence of a stomach ulcer or gallbladder damage.

Can lungs be affected by smoking? Pain in the lungs can appear only when the pleura is affected. In such cases, the pain is stitching, localized in one area of ​​the chest, accompanied by chills and weakness. All this is due to inflammation, which helped to shorten the ligaments between the pleura of both lungs.

If the pain increases with inhalation, its cause may be one of those diseases that are often diagnosed in smokers. These include:

  • tuberculosis;
  • inflammation of the pericardial sac;
  • myocardial infarction;
  • influenza against a background of reduced immunity.

For a number of reasons, pain in the lungs can not bother a person during the whole period of smoking, but manifest itself when you give up a bad habit. This is a normal phenomenon, which has a scientific justification.

During the period of withdrawal from nicotine, a person manifests various symptoms, including sudden pain in the lungs.

It can provoke several reasons:

  • decreased immunity;
  • withdrawal syndrome;
  • hyperventilation of the lung;
  • chronic pulmonary disease;
  • extrapulmonary pathology.

If the body is accustomed to the regular intake of nicotine, then, without receiving a regular portion of the substance, it begins to experience great stress. The nervous system suffers, and the immune system functions worse. She understands that the threat in the form of nicotine has passed, so temporarily "relaxes."

Reduced immunity creates a fertile soil for the penetration of various infections into the body. If a person is not tormented by symptoms of bronchitis during smoking, then they can manifest themselves after getting rid of a bad habit. There will be pain in the lungs, but when the body is rebuilt for functioning without nicotine, this symptom will go away.

In addition, smoking causes spasm of the bronchi. So they try to maximally protect the respiratory organs from cigarette smoke. However, after giving up tobacco, the bronchi immediately expand, and infections easily penetrate them.

Often the pain in the lungs during withdrawal is associated with a cough, with which the body removes the mucus that has accumulated in the bronchi. If the cough is severe, the intercostal muscles become overextended and experience increased loads. This leads to pain syndrome, which, with the involvement of the infection, can spread to the lung tissue and the pleura.

The cause of pain in the sternum can be and hyperventilation of the lungs, because with the refusal of cigarettes in the blood, the balance of alkali is violated. Feeling shortage of oxygen, the paired body can not work at full strength.

Against the background of reduced immunity and stress during the withdrawal syndrome, chronic illnesses that the smoker has acquired over the years of bad habit are often exacerbated. Obstruction and lung cancer, bronchitis, heart and vascular problems are just a brief list of the ailments that cause pain in the lungs in the treatment of tobacco dependence.

What happens in the body

Because of the inhalation of smoke from cigarettes, there is a spasm of blood vessels, which can cause a slight dizziness. As a result, blood circulation becomes difficult, and internal organs lose functionality due to oxygen deficiency. In the lungs, bronchi and other organs, pathological processes are triggered.

In addition, tar contained in tobacco smoke and carcinogens poison the respiratory system. As a result, a variety of pathologies can develop. Also, tobacco smoke destroys the delicate gastric mucosa, which is why the peptic ulcer develops.

Only one cigarette can exacerbate any heart disease, respiratory organs, central nervous system, gastrointestinal tract. All this provokes pain in the sternum.

Cardiac pathologies

Inhalation of tobacco smoke provokes the onset of a transient ischemia, manifested by pain in the chest area. This pathology is characterized by a temporary or constant narrowing of the vessels. As a result, the region's anemia develops, which is fed by the damaged vessel.

In response to poisoning with nicotine and carbon monoxide, myocardial vessels trigger angiospasm. This is an abnormal narrowing of the cerebral vessels, which in this case serves as a barrier to the further spread of toxins. Because of angiospasm there is an ischemia with pains in the chest.

In the presence of heart diseases caused by other factors, smoking will exacerbate their course. If a person continues to poison themselves with tobacco smoke, pain will occur more often. This can lead to a heart attack.

Inflammatory processes

Pain in the lungs of smokers often provokes inflammatory processes that lead to pleurisy, emphysema, bronchitis. They manifest themselves both during smoking and during a period of weaning from a bad habit.

Toxins from tobacco smoke settle on the pulmonary pleura. If the shell of the inner walls of the chest is filled with fluid, a pathological process develops in it. This disease is called pleurisy, and its symptoms include pain in the lungs, as well as dry cough.

In addition, in the pleural cavity pneumothorax may begin, which is characterized by the accumulation of excess air. This pathology develops more often in smokers with a long history, suffering from emphysema. As a result, the alveoli are ruptured, and the air from them is thrown into the pleural cavity.

Most people who smoke as a result of prolonged intoxication with nicotine earn chronic bronchitis.

Because of this inflammatory process:

  • makes air circulation on the respiratory tract difficult;
  • normal mucosal cleansing from carcinogens is disrupted;
  • appears a cough with abundant sputum discharge.

Cough is a protective reaction of the body, which tries to get rid of accumulated toxins. He may be weak when a person smokes, because nicotine weakens a cough reflex.

In the place of separation of the trachea into the bronchi there is a site with a huge number of nerve endings. Thanks to them, all the large particles that enter the lungs are coughing out quite easily.

After giving up cigarettes, the cough becomes severe and debilitating, since in the absence of nicotine the cough reflex is fully restored. This is a normal process of cleansing from harmful substances, but intercostal spasms cause pain in the lungs. It will pass when the cough is over, and to speed up the process, you can drink soft expectorants and do inhalations.

Lung cancer

Smoking is one of the main factors that provoke lung cancer, especially among men. This is confirmed by numerous clinical trials and experiments.

The fact is that cigarette smoke contains not only carcinogens, but tobacco tar. All these poisons settle on the mucosa of the respiratory tract. At the same time, the resistance of the organism decreases before the action of various harmful agents.

Prolonged irritation and poisoning of the bronchial mucosa with tobacco tar contributes to the cancerous degeneration of its cells. Microscopic particles of tobacco tar are scattered throughout the surface of the alveoli. The greatest concentration is achieved on the mucosa of the middle and large bronchi, where lung cancer occurs.

During the development of pathology, pain in the lungs appears. At the initial stage of cancer, it is usually weak, so people go to the doctor only when curing cancer becomes extremely difficult.

Scientists have also found out that cigarettes cause lung cancer more often than cigars. This is due to the fact that when smoking the latter people inhale less tobacco smoke, focusing on releasing it from the mouth.

When to consult a doctor

A smoker is advised to make an appointment with a therapist when he experiences pain in the lungs for the first time. This is the only way to avoid dangerous health consequences and prolong your life.

If there is a sharp pain, a person needs immediate medical help.

Any delay can lead to serious complications:

  • pain shock;
  • fainting;
  • arrhythmia;
  • fear of death.

While the ambulance is on the way, a man needs to be put in bed, lifting his legs, and give him nitroglycerin under his tongue. Also, you should unbutton his tight clothes. If the patient has fainted, he should sniff ammonia.

Do not hesitate to visit a doctor if symptoms of cancer can be suspected for pain in the lungs.

The primary signs of this dangerous disease include:

  • cough with blood;
  • strong weight loss;
  • a bad smell from the oral cavity;
  • fast fatigue.

All of these symptoms do not necessarily indicate the onset of cancer in the body. However, the risks are too high, and the doctor can determine the true cause of the health problems.

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