Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Air Element and the Lungs

     Our breath connects us to the earth’s atmosphere. But the level of toxic gases we release into the environment poisons and pollutes the very air we breathe, and every one of us is affected by this every single minute of every day.

The primary function of our respiratory system is to supply the blood with life giving oxygen for delivery to all parts of the body; and it is the diaphragm's job to help pump the carbon dioxide out of the lungs and pull in oxygen. All the cells in our body require oxygen in order to move, build, reproduce, and turn food into energy; without oxygen we die.

Excess fat around the midriff and pollutants filtered through the lungs obstruct the free passage of oxygen in and out of the body. The health of the respiratory tract depends on the body being able to take in germ-free, fresh and uncontaminated air.

Our respiratory tract is constantly exposed to microbes and therefore has several defensive mechanisms to protect the body against pathogens.

How does our respiratory system compare to Mother Nature’s?

Rainforests and tree cover, now greatly reduced or destroyed in order to meet our 'wants' (not our needs) are part of the ‘lungs’ of the earth. They function as a vital part of the biosphere – the places on planet that contain living things.

Seen from above, the forests of the world form a huge diaphragm-like ring around the planet; it absorbs excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and dispenses the oxygen that human and other sentient beings need to survive. 

But both our own and Mother Nature’s respiratory system, the conveyor of the breath of life, essential to the efficient functioning of yet another vital system - the circulatory - have become incapacitated and diseased1]

Loss of the Earth’s lung capacity gives rise to greater pollution in the air we breathe, which in turn gives rise to symptom such as asthma, bronchitis and hay fever; sinusitis, coughs and sore throats; colds and influenza.

A greater threat: an unhealthy lifestyle compounded by polluted air and respiratory problems, can lead to pulmonary embolism, pneumonia, emphysema and lung cancer.

It seems clear to me that if the planet is our host (we are supposed to be benign parasites) then whatever affects the earth we too will experience, and vis versa.

To be continued....


[1] It’s estimated that 3 million people in UK are affected by Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease: chronic bronchitis is inflammation of your bronchi - the main airways that lead from your windpipe (trachea) to your lungs - producing excess mucus that block airways, making us cough and struggling for breath after minor exertions; all made much worse by smoke inhalation.

With emphysema, the alveoli, or air sacs that lie deep within the lungs, become damaged and eventually burst, leaving large holes that trap air within the lungs. It then becomes difficult for the lungs to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide, which can result in low oxygen and eventually high carbon dioxide levels in the blood.  There is no cure for emphysema, and the treatment is mostly self-help. The goal of treatment is to slow the progression of the disease, treat the obstructed airways to relieve associated hypoxia.



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