Carbon monoxide (CO) is a toxic, colorless, and odorless gas that is produced when carbon-containing fuels are burned incompletely. It is present in indoor and outdoor air in different amounts, including car exhaust, gas stoves, wood burning stoves, furnaces, and cigarette smoke-which may contain high concentrations of carbon monoxide.
Carbon monoxide in the human body
When carbon monoxide enters the lungs through breathing, it combines with hemoglobin in red blood cells to form carboxyhemoglobin (COHb), which is then transported to the blood. Once this happens, oxygen cannot bind to receptors on the same cell.
Carbon monoxide binds to hemoglobin much faster than oxygen (about 200 times faster). Therefore, when CO is present in the lungs, it will dominate the red blood cells. This process reduces the oxygen carrying capacity in the blood.
Carbon monoxide binds to red blood cells very quickly, but the speed of excretion from the body is very slow, and it takes a day to exhale through the lungs.
The large amount of carbon monoxide in the blood makes the body hypoxia. In the worst case, this can be fatal.
Carbon monoxide in smokers
Due to environmental exposure to carbon monoxide, the normal level of COHb in the blood is less than 1%.For smokers, the COHb saturation in the blood is much higher. Factors such as brand, number of cigarettes, and time all affect saturation.
A person with a pack of cigarettes a day may have a blood COHb level of 3% to 6%. For people who smoke two packs of cigarettes a day, the level may be 6% to 10%. Among smokers who take three packs a day, the COHb level may reach 20%.
Carbon monoxide blood saturation higher than 1% can cause physical symptoms, such as:
- Increased heart rate
- Reduced tolerance to exercise
- Headaches and visual distortions may occur when CO saturation is high
The lack of oxygen in the cells also forces the heart to work harder to distribute oxygen throughout the body. This makes CO a major cause of heart disease, including heart attack and atherosclerosis.Secondhand smoke may also contain high levels of carbon monoxide.
Smoking and carbon monoxide poisoning
If you smoke a large number of cigarettes in a confined space in rapid succession, you may cause carbon monoxide poisoning due to smoking. In a documented case,A woman went to the emergency room of a local hospital because she felt dizzy and headache. A blood test showed that the level of carbon monoxide in her blood was elevated.
She checked her home for carbon monoxide leaks, but nothing was found. A week later, she returned to the hospital with the same symptoms. This time, the carbon monoxide in her blood was close to 25%. She is a heavy smoker and has smoked a lot of cigarettes in a short period of time.
For most smokers, symptoms of excessive carbon dioxide in the blood, such as rapid heartbeat, headaches, and nausea, cause them to slow down smoking before they need medical help. But the only long-term solution to the problem is to quit smoking.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning
Inhalation of low concentrations of CO can cause:
- Increased chest pain in patients with chronic heart disease
In otherwise healthy people, inhaling higher levels of carbon monoxide may cause flu-like symptoms (no fever), such as:
- lose the way
At very high concentrations, exposure to carbon monoxide can cause loss of consciousness and death, so if you experience any of the above symptoms, you must seek medical attention.
Very good sentence
Carbon monoxide is just one of many harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke. So far, more than 7,000 compounds are known in cigarette smoke, of which 250 are known to be toxic, and more than 70 have been identified as carcinogens.
If you are still smoking, it’s time to make up your mind to quit smoking. Don’t be afraid to quit smoking. Others have successfully done it. you can also.