Maintaining the health of the lungs (3)
IT is a well-known fact that we take in oxygen and pass out carbon dioxide during the process of breathing. These gases are carried by the red blood cells. There is a complex molecule in the red blood cells known as haemoglobin. The haem is iron and the globulin is protein. It is this haem portion that carries oxygen from the lungs to all the cells of the body and carbon dioxide from the cells back to the lungs to be eliminated from the body. As the carbon dioxide gets expelled from the body the fluids become alkaline; increased oxygen tension also makes the body alkaline.
The globulin portion of haemoglobin binds excess hydrogen atoms and neutralizes them. Hydrogen atoms are acid forming. In asthmatics, these acid-buffering mechanisms are no longer efficient. Respiratory rate is slowed down, less carbon dioxide is being expelled, reduced amount of oxygen is coming in and a lot more hydrogen atoms remain in circulation. All these cause the internal environment of the body to be acidic and this is the main source of danger to asthmatics.
The acid/alkaline imbalance that occurs in asthmatics is what deals the killer punch. This is more so in the brain, which swells up from inefficient oxygen supply and faulty pH regulation. Acid accumulation is fatal to the brain cell environment. For this reason, asthmatics and everybody for that matter should do all that is possible to ensure that they avoid dehydration and other things such as pollens, toxins and areas of potential chemical pollution. Remember that the bronchioles constrict to prevent these toxins and chemicals from getting to, and causing damage in the internal environment of the lungs (the air sacs).
Let us now talk about salt.
Medical practitioners have put such a scare in people that the quantity of salt that the human being consumes is on the decrease. We have all developed so much fear of hypertension that salt is almost eliminated from our diet. In addition to this, some people have an inefficient salt regulatory mechanism and the ensuing salt shortage has become symptom-producing. Salt is involved in the acid/alkaline balance in the body, especially in the brain.
Note that in a state of dehydration histamine is released by the mast cells found all over the body and the basophils found in circulation with the white blood cells. Histamine, with other secondary neurotransmitters, ration the available water in the body. On the other hand, histamine in the lungs causes the bronchioles to constrict [to prevent the destruction of the delicate inner environment of the lungs].
Salt is a natural antihistamine [and water too]. When there is the shortage of salt in the body, therefore, histamine will continue to exert its constrictive function on the bronchioles. In other words, shortage of salt is a risk factor in the development of asthma. Also, in asthma, mucus is secreted to protect the tissues and as the condition becomes chronic the mucus remains and blocks the airways preventing air from passing freely in and out. The sodium component of salt is a natural mucus ‘liquifier,’ which breaks up the mucus and makes it disposable. This naturally opens up the airways. There should always be salt in the mucus and this is the reason why phlegm tastes salty when it comes in contact with the tongue. Shortage of salt leads to accumulation of mucus in the airways, which can eventually block them totally causing death by asphyxiation. Asthma, like most of the chronic degenerative diseases, caused by chronic unintended dehydration is a physiological adaptation of the body to dehydration and salt shortage.
TO BE CONTINUED
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