Smoking is known to cause serious health complications like lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. But did you know that smoking also leads to long-term breathing problems like coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath?
Below, Dr. Shane Hill and Dr. Scott Rundle review why smokers experience breathing difficulties. We also discuss helpful treatments and recommendations to protect your lungs from further damage. Call MedNorth Urgent Care in Kalispell, MT to schedule a consultation and see how we help patients through our commitment to providing comprehensive, compassionate care.
Why is smoking harmful?
Cigarettes contain addictive chemicals, like nicotine, as well as known carcinogens (cancer-causing substances). When you inhale cigarette smoke, these substances enter the lungs and travel to vital organs.
Smoking causes irreversible damage that takes a toll on your health and eventually leads to cancer, cardiovascular disease, and chronic respiratory conditions. Smokers are also at a higher risk of developing conditions like emphysema, bronchitis, and COPD.
How does smoking cause breathing difficulties?
The harmful substances found in cigarettes damage the lungs and airways in many ways. For example, smoking wears away the cilia (tiny hairs) that remove harmful debris from the bronchus in the lungs. This makes it difficult to clear away irritants and harmful bacteria, leading to respiratory conditions that put your health at risk.
Smoking also irritates and inflames the airways, which can trigger coughing spells. Constant coughing or wheezing makes it challenging to get the oxygen you need. You may even start coughing up mucus or phlegm.
It is never too late to quit smoking if you want to help prevent lung damage and improve your breathing. MedNorth Urgent Care provides comprehensive resources and support for individuals in Kalispell, MT.
How does MedNorth Urgent Care help?
Anyone experiencing severe breathing problems should seek emergency medical attention as soon as possible. This includes shortness of breath that comes on suddenly, especially when accompanied by chest pain, a rapid heartbeat, or lightheadedness.
Chronic breathing issues could be a sign of a lung condition. During an appointment at MedNorth Urgent Care, our trained team members listen to your breathing, understand your symptoms, and make sure emergency care is not needed at this time.
How are breathing issues treated?
Treatment depends on the source of your breathing difficulties. Our medical staff offers on-site labs and imaging, and advanced services to get a diagnosis quickly and efficiently. We may recommend one of several solutions depending on our findings, including:
- Asthma inhaler
- Oral steroids
- Oxygen therapy
Our goal is to provide the treatment you need to feel better and improve your quality of life.
How can I quit smoking?
MedNorth Urgent Care may provide guidance if you are not sure how to quit smoking. Nicotine replacement therapy, for example, curbs cravings by releasing small doses of nicotine into your bloodstream. This therapy is available in many forms, including gum, patches, and lozenges. Medications can also manage withdrawal symptoms or help you quit smoking.
Improve your breathing and health
Cigarettes should never be considered safe, even if you have only been smoking a short time. If you have breathing difficulties like wheezing or struggle to quit smoking on your own in Kalispell, MT, call MedNorth Urgent Care to meet with Dr. Shane Hill and Dr. Scott Rundle. We can develop a plan to manage issues like shortness of breath long-term.