Maryland's Health Matters - Upper Chesapeake - Spring 2013 - (Page 13)

AT A G L A N C E BREATHE DEEP It’s something you can do in your sleep—literally. Breathing is as essential to life as it is instinctive. But that’s not to say the process is simple. What exactly happens when you take a deep breath? 1 1 The air travels through your nose and into your windpipe (trachea), where tiny hairs called cilia rid it of dirt and mucus. 2 Tubes at the bottom of your windpipe direct the air into your lungs. Here it disperses into the lungs’ vast network of tiny airways (imagine two upside-down trees). 3 Each airway leads to a clump of air sacs (alveoli). Your lungs contain about 6 million air sacs, and as each one fills with air like millions of tiny balloons, your lungs expand. 4 Next, the oxygen moves into the capillaries surrounding the air sacs and carbon dioxide takes its place, ready to be exhaled. The all-important 02 travels through the bloodstream to your heart, where it is pumped to every cell in your body. 2 3 4 BY T H E N U M B E R S 2013 6 MILLION+ THE NUMBER 44 MILES of breaths you take each year. THE LENGTH of the network of airways in your lungs. 100 MPH THE SPEED of your sneeze. What Could Go Wrong?  ASTHMA  COPD  CYSTIC FIBROSIS  SMOKING When people with asthma are exposed to a trigger (which could be anything from dust to physical activity), their airways tighten and narrow. The result is coughing, wheezing and tightness in the chest. Those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease have trouble breathing because of damage to their airways and air sacs. Smoking is the most common culprit. This genetic disease causes thick, sticky mucus that can clog airways and make a person more susceptible to bacterial infections. Cigarette smoke (and the 4,800 chemicals it contains) does a number on the respiratory system. It can narrow your airways, making breathing more difficult, and lead to chronic bronchitis— not to mention cancer.  Breathing difficulties making it hard to sleep? Call the UCHS Sleep Disorders Center at 443-843-5145. | Spring 2013 13

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Maryland's Health Matters - Upper Chesapeake - Spring 2013

Maryland's Health Matters - Upper Chesapeake - Spring 2013
A Healthy Start
Like This? Try That!
The Breath of Life
At a Glance
Physician Update
News and Events

Maryland's Health Matters - Upper Chesapeake - Spring 2013