Respiratory System by Kristi Lew

By Kristi Lew

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This puts people in closer contact for longer periods of time during the winter. While this may be true, researchers at the National Institute of Health (NIH) may have found another reason that has to do more with the virus itself. In March 2008, the NIH scientists discovered that the outer coating of the influenza virus (the virus that causes the flu) toughens up in cooler temperatures. They believe that this stronger outer coating, called the envelope, helps the virus survive longer outside the human body.

When this material gets damaged, cells can grow out of control and cause cancer. Inhaling tobacco smoke delivers the carcinogens in the smoke directly to the lungs. From the lungs, the carcinogens can move through the walls of the alveoli directly into the capillaries surrounding them. This allows the toxic chemicals to be distributed throughout the rest of the body by the bloodstream. This is why smoking also increases the risk of developing cancer of the nose, mouth, salivary glands, vocal cords, esophagus, bladder, pancreas, and kidneys.

After many repeated infections, a CF patient’s lung tissue can become permanently scarred. This scarring can result in respiratory failure in which the lungs stop working. Most CF patients eventually die as a result of respiratory failure. Cystic fibrosis is usually passed to a child when both parents have the mutated genetic material. More than 30,000 American children and young adults live with CF. This makes CF the most common genetic disease to affect the lungs in the United States. At this time, there is no cure for CF.

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