Tobacco is notorious for all the damage that it does to your body. It has its name in almost every other list that suggests quitting it immediately. For instance, it is critical to quit smoking if you want to promote a good cardiovascular health. Likewise, it is also essential to stop taking tobacco for boosting brain health and limiting the odds of developing neurodegenerative disorders such as dementia.
However, it’s common to forget what tobacco actually does to your body. It is not only harmful to your lungs but it leaves negative impacts on your heart. Still, more than 20% of the world population smokes. In the US, about 37.8 million adults smoke cigarettes. 16 million plus folks are already living with diseases caused by smoking. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also reports that about 480,000 annual deaths in the country are due to smoking. This equates to about 1 in 5 people dying due to their addiction to tobacco.
Some of the typical health concerns that arise due to your tobacco addiction include:
- Diabetes type II
- Erectile dysfunction
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Colorectal cancer
- Fertility issues
- Gum diseases
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Smoking can also lead to the formation of cancer. These include cancers of the
- Trachea, bronchus, and lung
- Kidney and ureter
- Blood (acute myeloid leukemia)
- Colon and rectum (colorectal)
- Oropharynx (includes parts of the throat, tongue, and soft palate)
Here is an in-depth look at the damage that tobacco does. This will automatically convince you to quit or, in the very least, minimize smoking:
- Effects on the Central Nervous System (CNS)
A common component of tobacco is nicotine. It is a mood-altering drug that reaches the brain within seconds, leaving you feeling energized for a short while. However, as the effect of nicotine wears off, you start feeling tired. This is where the craving for the drug kicks in.
Nicotine is addictive and it is what makes it challenging to quit smoking. Physical withdrawal from this drug can impair your brain’s functioning. It also leaves you feeling irritated, depressed, and anxious. Withdrawal also leads to sleeplessness and headaches.
- Effects on the cardiovascular health
The cardiovascular system entails the heart and its network of blood vessels. These are responsible for the pumping and transport of blood to and fro the organs. Smoking damages this system entirely. Nicotine present in your cigarettes tightens the blood vessels, which hampers blood flow. This results in poor blood circulation.
As this narrowing continues, it can damage the blood vessels and culminate in peripheral artery disease. Moreover, smoking also antes up your blood pressure, multiplies blood clots, and weakens the walls of the blood vessels. Put together, all these factors raise the risk of stroke. The risk of aggravating heart disease soars if you are already a patient of a heart attack or have been through a heart bypass surgery.
In a nutshell, you have an increased risk of the following cardiovascular concerns:
- Atherosclerosis that is the accumulation of fatty substances in the arteries. It is the leading cause of heart disease
- Contributes to peripheral artery disease
- Coronary heart disease and stroke that are the chief causes of death in the US
- Increases blood pressure
- Higher cholesterol buildup and increases tendency of formation of blood clots
- Weakens blood vessels
- Effects on the brain
Smoking increases the risk of a stroke by roughly 50%. This can cause damage to the brain and also prove to be fatal. Stroke also increases the chances of brain aneurysm. This is characterized by a bulge in the blood vessel due to the weak blood vessel. This vessel can rupture and burst, which leads to serious conditions like subarachnoid hemorrhage.
A stroke can also spiral the risk of vascular dementia, which is a type of dementia caused due to stroke. In such an event blood to the brain is disrupted, which is highly dangerous.
- Effects on lungs and the respiratory system
Your lungs are at the center of the respiratory system that is responsible for breathing. As you inhale smoke, the damage is directly done to your lungs. Over time the damage done to the lungs results in numerous problems. For one, it increases the risk of infections
Secondly, people who smoke are at an amped up risk of chronic nonreversible lung conditions. These include:
- Chronic bronchitis that is permanent inflammation, which affects the lining of the tubes of your lungs
- Lung cancer
- Emphysema which is the destruction of the air sacs in your lungs
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that is a group of lung diseases
The CDC reports that smokers are 12-13 times likely to die from COPD as compared to nonsmokers. Withdrawal symptoms experienced due to the presence of nicotine can lead to respiratory discomfort in your airways and lungs. It can also come to a finale of congestion.
- Effects on the digestive system
Smoking also leaves its effects on the digestive tract. You are at higher odds of developing cancer of the esophagus, throat, mouth, and larynx. Pancreatic cancer is also common among smokers.
Smoking impacts insulin too, which is what sets the foundation for developing insulin resistance. Consequently, you have a greater chance of having diabetes type II and its related complications.
- Effects on the reproductive system
Nicotine slows blood flow to the genital regions of both the genders. In the case of men, this results in a decline in their sexual performance. People who smoke are also at ballooned odds of developing erectile dysfunction.
On the other hand, women face concerns such as a decline in lubrication. Smoking also lowers the count of sex hormones in both male and female. This leads to further complications.
Smoking can also lead to birth defects. It also correlates with miscarriages. Some of the birth concerns due to tobacco entail early delivery, stillbirth, sudden infant death syndrome, orofacial cleft in infants, and low birth weight.
- Effects on skin and bones
Smoking slashes the amount of oxygen that reaches your skin. This means that your skin ages prematurely and it becomes dull and grey. Toxins in your blood due to smoking can also lead to cellulite. Statistics reveal that smoking ages your skin prematurely by 10-20 years. Additionally, you are at three times the likelihood of having facial wrinkles, specifically, around your eyes and mouth.
Smoking also gives you a yellow-grey complexion and hollow cheeks. Besides, smoking makes your bones brittle and weak. Women smokers are more likely to have osteoporosis resulting from brittle bones than females who do not puff on.
- Effects on passive smokers
Not only does smoking leave its negative imprint on people who smoke but also affects the people in your surroundings, for instance, your family. In general, the person who smokes is called as an active smoker. However, the people around an active smoker are termed as passive smokers.
Children of parents who smoke are prone to wheezing, asthma attacks, and coughing due to their passive smoking. They are also exposed to higher odds of developing bronchitis and pneumonia.
Likewise, exposure to secondhand smoke also snowballs the chances of having heart disease, stroke, and heart attack. People who inhale smoke are also exposed to the risk of developing mouth cancer. Therefore, you should try to quit smoking at your earliest.