The Effects of Carbon Monoxide (CO) on the Human Body

Essay by albertmister96High School, 11th gradeA+, February 2006

download word file, 3 pages 0.0

Carbon monoxide is a tasteless, odorless, colorless, highly toxic, and flammable gas. Its chemical formula is CO. Carbon monoxide is mostly formed from the incomplete combustion of carbon and/or molecules that contain carbon. Carbon monoxide is usually inhaled into the body when people smoke cigarettes or any other substances. When breathed into the human body, carbon monoxide alters the hemoglobin and thus puts a stop on the absorption of oxygen into the red blood cells. Carbon monoxide has different effects on people with different health conditions. Carbon monoxide also has different effects on different parts of the human body.

Carbon monoxide, by displacing the oxygen from the red blood cells, deprives the brain, the heart, the nervous system, and many other vital organs of oxygen. The replacement of oxygen with carbon monoxide fills the red blood cell with carboxyhemoglobin (COHb). The lack of oxygen to all of the vital organs of the human body causes dangerous concussions, suffocation, stroke, and heart attacks.

Signs of carbon monoxide poisoning are: tightening of the chest, fatigue, dizziness, and sudden chest pains.

The effects of carbon monoxide on the heart can be very serious. One factor is the amount of carbon monoxide that is inhaled. Even if the concentration inhaled is 0.1%, people begin to feel the effects of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide stimulates high blood pressure and most of the time causes heart attacks. Another effect of carbon monoxide on the heart is that it can cause lethal arrhythmias. Arrhythmia is the abnormal or irregular rhythm or beating of the heart. This can cause the heart to pump the blood irregularly. This occurrence can lead to death because abnormal amounts of blood will be pumped.

Since carbon monoxide is inhaled, it passes through the lungs before it reaches the blood. This...