Thursday, May 24, 2018

10 Lesser-Known Ways That Smoking Affects Your Health

At this stage of tobacco research, everyone is aware that smoking causes lung cancer, emphysema, and heart disease. It’s also common knowledge that over 480,000 American people die each year from tobacco use, making it the leading cause of preventable death in the country. And yet, people are still smoking.

If this includes you, it may be worth noting that the ill effects of cigarettes are not limited to those you’ve heard about before. The smoke you inhale enters your bloodstream, which grants it direct access to every single part of your body, placing many other lesser-known parts of you under threat. Read over the following 10 warnings, and use them to help you make that quitting decision once and for all.

1. Vision Loss 

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a progressive condition in which the patient gradually loses their central vision, and is eventually unable to see anything straight ahead of them. The link between smoking and AMD is widely reported, while an increased risk of cataracts in smokers has also been established.

2. Hearing Loss 

There are various common causes attributed to the loss of hearing, and these include aging, extreme noise exposure, infections, and heredity influences. Smoking itself has been shown to substantially increase these risks. Studies have not finalized the exact connection between these two concerns just yet, but much like anything, the toxins and lack of oxygen within your blood vessels are most likely not helping.

3. Stress and Depression 

Do not be fooled by those who claim that smoking relaxes them, as it is the interruption of withdrawal symptoms that gives them this illusion of comfort. Certainly, an extended period away from your cigarette dependency will result in increased irritability, but the stress hormone itself (called cortisol) is proven to eventually reduce after quitting. Underlying depression is known to worsen withdrawal anxiety, so explore any alternative methods to lower cortisol levels during the initial stages of abstinence.

4. Impotence 

There is no longer any debate as to whether erectile dysfunction is related to cigarette smoke or not, as it has been scientifically proven beyond any doubt. Many pieces of research point towards the reduced blood flow of a smoker as the primary cause for this problem, but there are also studies which indicate that the lowering of testosterone levels may play a role too.

5. An Ectopic Pregnancy

Sometimes a fertilized egg will accidentally attach itself to an organ other than the uterus—more often than not, one of the fallopian tubes. This is an extremely dangerous complication, which can lead to abdominal pain, vaginal bleeding, and even death. Tobacco use has been undeniably proven to contribute to this pregnancy issue, most likely due to the structural changes of a smoker’s fallopian tubes.

6. Rheumatoid Arthritis 

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a disease characterized by the chronic inflammation of the joints. This condition often attacks the hands and feet most severely, resulting in pain, swelling, and deformities. The reasons why smoking increases the risk of RA are not fully understood, but tobacco’s negative influence on the immune system as well as its interference with medication are probable factors.

7. Sleepless Nights

An unhealthy lifestyle of any kind can disturb a regular sleeping pattern, which includes obesity, alcohol intake, and, of course, tobacco usage. The reasons are obvious, as smoking irritates and inflames the nasal passages, which in turn causes congestion and respiratory disturbances. These consequences have also been connected to snoring.

8. Acid Reflux 

Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is yet to be securely connected to smoking, but there is ample evidence associating the two. Tobacco reduces the pressure of your lower esophageal sphincter while also damaging the lining. This makes it much easier for your stomach acid to come back up, which results in heartburn and bad breath. Smoking has also been hypothesized to cause stomach ulcers.

9. Temperature Control 

Among its myriad toxic detriments, smoking is also infamous for its position in cardiovascular disease. This means that your weakened heart is unable to circulate the blood correctly, leaving your entire body without the adequate levels of oxygen that it needs to function. Furthermore, this circulation will struggle to properly reach your feet and hands, hence why smokers tend to feel the winter cold much worse than those in good health.

10. Premature Wrinkles 

Finally, if the threat of a premature death isn’t terrifying enough, then perhaps the deterioration of cosmetic beauty may be the final selling point. Simply put, smoking hinders the delivery of sufficient oxygen to the skin, which develops into wrinkles around the mouth, the cheeks, and the eyes. Couple this with the leathery complexion of a smoker’s face, and you will quickly notice that your overall appearance has aged dramatically.

This is a guest blog post.

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