HOW SMOKING DEVASTATES YOUR HEALTH
If you have ever heard the phrase, “smokers are liable to die young”, you will probably agree that it is an apt answer to the statement, “How smoking devastates your health”.
But have you ever thought to know exactly why and how it does this?
If you didn’t before now know that smoking does much more than just damage your lungs as you may have been told, this article is for your benefit.
The following are the organs that are affected by smoking;
Blood vessels and the heart
One adverse effect of smoking is what it does to your blood.
The tar and carbon monoxide contained in the cigarette/tobacco enter into your blood vessels, make the blood thicker and thus make entrance of oxygen into the blood vessels extremely difficult. The chemicals in tobacco also increase your blood pressure and heart rate, making your heart work harder with limited oxygen.
What more, your blood begins to clot faster and unnecessarily too. This can lead to several complications if a clot blocks blood flow to any part of your body or if it sticks to the walls of your blood vessels.
The chemicals in tobacco can also cause the thinning of the arteries that supply oxygenated blood to the heart. When that occurs, you become increasingly prone to heart attacks and other coronary heart diseases. It has been found that a smoker has twice the chance of suffering from these than a non-smoker.
And contrary to the myth that e-cigarettes and smoke filters minimize this risk, they do not do so much. Any inhalation of smoke will have the same effect even if you inhale the smoke in small quantities. In most cases, people smoking e-cigarettes tend to take longer puffs than those smoking traditional cigarettes. Thus, the risk remains the same.
Smoking also causes damage to the brain. First, there are certain receptors in the brain which become activated by the nicotine. These receptors then produce a feel-good chemical called dopamine. The production of dopamine causes the smoker to want to take in more nicotine and this eventually leads to addiction.
The smoker always wants to take more and the more he takes, the more he wants. This makes it difficult to quit smoking as the nicotine receptors increase over time and any attempt to stop smoking will lead to nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
These symptoms include anxiety, irritability, depression, difficulty in concentrating on any activity, increased hunger and difficulty sleeping. These symptoms continue as long as the person stays away from smoking and the fastest way to relieve them is by smoking again. This causes brain dysfunction when suffering from withdrawal symptoms.
Secondly, smoking causes the thinning of the brain cortex. The cortex is a very crucial part of the brain and is responsible for certain brain functions like memory, language, perception and other thought processes. The thinning of the thick cortex causes a lag in performing these functions. It should be noted that the cortex usually thins with age but smoking speeds up this process.
Hence, the smoker will likely develop instances of memory loss earlier than usual. The reduced availability of oxygen to the brain as explained earlier also increases the chances of suffering from stroke, twice as much. That feeling of bliss and energy got from smoking comes at a steep price. The brain suffers more than it seems.
The carbon monoxide from smoking damages the alveoli and air sacs in the lungs and leads to their destruction. This can lead to various lung diseases such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), emphysema, pneumonia and it makes the victim prone to cold, wheezing and shortness of breath.
Smoking can also cause lung cancer. This is because the tar damages the functions of the cells responsible for managing and controlling cell growth and eventually causes their dysfunction, leading to tumorous cancers. It has been found that smoking causes 84% of death from lung cancers and 83% from COPD. This damage cannot be easily solved by the lung’s regenerative ability as this ability further degenerates with continuity.
Smoking causes damage to a certain part of the eye called the macula. The macula contains light receptors that are responsible for sight. The degeneration of this part of the eye usually comes with age but smoking speeds up this degeneration.
Other ailments that can affect the eye via smoking include glaucoma, cataract, conjunctivitis and damage to the optic nerve.
Effect of smoking on other parts of your body
Smoking also causes bad breath, stained teeth, gum diseases etc.
It can also cause cancer in the lips, throat, tongue and gullet and any other organ in the digestive system, while wreaking havoc in the stomach. Research has found that smoking weakens the stomach muscle responsible for barricading the stomach and the esophagus and preventing food from flowing back to the esophagus. Where this occurs, there is a reflux of food from the stomach to the esophagus along with the acids used for digesting food in the stomach. These acids cause damage to the lining of the esophagus and usually causes heartburns. Where this occurs too frequently, it becomes GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). This can lead to bleeding ulcer in the esophagus and can also lead to cancer.
Smoking also increases the risk of peptic ulcer and liver disease.
Reduced oxygen supply to the skin via smoking also makes the skin age faster. This can lead to premature wrinkles that cause the person to look older than he/she is. The low supply of oxygen and reduced blood flow also reduces the body’s ability to heal wounds quickly.
Smoking affects the reproductive system of both men and women. In men, smoking can cause erectile dysfunction due to the narrowing of blood vessels that supply blood to the penis. It also reduces the quality of sperm produced. It has adverse effects on the woman’s fertility and can also cause complications in pregnancy and childbirth.
The takeaway lesson
Smoking devastates the entire body, and there is hardly any organ of the human body that is not affected by this vice. So why do people continue to engage in smoking, despite the fact that it is this devastating?
The answer is simple. It is highly addictive.
The takeaway lesson is that you shouldn’t start smoking if you haven’t yet started. And if you have, you need to find a way to quit and work hard at the quitting, as the only to prevent the devastating effects of smoking is to quit smoking.