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Can You Live Without A Lung

by Lyndon Langley
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Can You Live Without A Lung

Can You Live Without A Lung

Have you ever noticed that when you’re out running or playing sports, your breathing changes? It’s not that you need more air; you just want to be able to breathe faster. This happens because your chest expands so much during exercise that it can’t contain all the air at once. When this occurs, the air has to go somewhere else, which means it must come from other parts of your body like your throat, nose, mouth, etc.
This is great if you’re a distance runner who experiences shortness of breath on the way up hills but doesn’t happen if you play basketball where you spend most of your time in the low post. The reason why people don’t have problems breathing while sitting or lying down is because their chest isn’t expanding as much to give off excess gas. In order to keep the lungs healthy, we should make sure our chests expand enough to take in large amounts of air. However, we shouldn’t force the chest too much since doing this could lead to complications such as hyperventilation (over-breathing) or bronchoconstriction (tightening of the bronchi).
In addition to these two factors, there are also many things that affect how well the lungs work. For example, obesity and smoking can cause an increase in the risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. There are also diseases that affect the lungs directly, such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, cystic fibrosis, asthma, cancer, infections, and foreign bodies lodged deep within the lung tissue.
To learn about what conditions exist when someone lives without a functioning left lung, let’s first discuss anatomy. The right side of the heart pumps blood through the lungs before sending it throughout the rest of the body via arteries. From here, the blood enters the lungs’ capillaries where carbon dioxide is removed through diffusion and oxygen enters the blood by hemoglobin binding. Once inside the lungs, the blood picks up oxygen through oxygenated hemoglobin then sends it to different areas of the lungs called alveoli. These tiny sacs allow fresh oxygen to enter the bloodstream and release carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere.
When looking at the lungs, they can appear grayish-white due to the presence of mucus. They usually weigh around 1 pound each. On top of this, the lungs’ surface area is around 30 square feet. Surrounding the lungs are pleura. Pleurae cover the outer layer of the lungs and are attached to them along the bottom. Lastly, there are interlobular septa, which divide the individual lobes of the lungs horizontally.
Now that we know what the lungs look like and function, let’s talk about some medical issues that exist when someone loses a lung. First off, patients suffering with COPD will find that their symptoms worsen after losing one lung. This is due to the fact that the remaining lung suffers from less capacity to expel gases. Another issue is that patients may experience hypoxemia, which refers to decreased levels of oxygen in the blood. Although hypoxemia does occur naturally, it comes from the lungs being unable to provide enough oxygen to the bloodstream. As a result of this, the patient may feel fatigue, weakness, dizziness, confusion, headaches, irritability, and clammy skin.
On the other hand, living without a lung can sometimes pose its own problems. Hypercapnia, or high levels of carbon dioxide in the blood, causes respiratory acidosis. Patients with this condition often suffer from nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, and constipation. Furthermore, a lack of oxygen leads to lactic acidosis. Because of this, patients who lose one lung tend to develop metabolic acidosis, which makes their muscles weak and fatigues them quickly. If the remaining lung fails to receive enough oxygen, it starts producing cyanotic blood cells. To counteract this, doctors must administer supplemental oxygen to counterbalance the effects of the damaged lung. Finally, there are also cases where a person loses his/her entire left lung but still remains alive. One potential explanation is that the brain receives oxygen from the spinal cord instead of directly from the lungs. Therefore, no significant damage occurred to the brain itself.
So next time you think about those lungs up there, consider how important they truly are to your health. And remember, even though it might seem impossible, it’s never too late to try becoming healthier!

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