One can get a significant build-up of carbon monoxide (CO), especially from heavy smoking. Smokers inhale concentrations of CO as high as 400 parts per million. The range of COHb is 2 to 15%. The average level in moderate smokers is 5%. These levels interfere with oxygen transport and utilization. This effect is compounded in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), who already have problems with oxygen transport and uptake. Levels of CO in this range can influence cognitive function.
One should not depend on symptoms to show that the CO is having a toxic effect. The toxic effect is evident at levels that may produce little or nothing in the way of symptoms. If you really want to know, you should ask your doctor to arrange for you to have an exhaled CO determination.
The best medical treatment for the bad effects of elevated CO from smoking, is smoking cessation.
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