Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death worldwide. It has many adverse effects on your health. Smoking is infamous for causing lung cancer. But beyond that, smoking can also damage your heart, brain, and blood vessels.
Furthermore, smoking can also lead to fertility, pregnancy, and bone health problems.
Here, we cover more in-depth five ways smoking can affect your health.
1. Lung Cancer
Of all the health effects of smoking, lung cancer is the most well-known. Cigarette smoke contains more than 70 known carcinogens. Tobacco use accounts for about 90% of lung cancer diagnoses.
The risk of rising lung cancer upsurges with the number of cigarettes one smokes daily. And smokers are also more likely to develop aggressive forms of the disease.
Treatment options for lung cancer can be lifesaving. Although, treatments get expensive and may cause side effects. As a result, smokers have a much higher threat of death from lung cancer than nonsmokers.
2. Heart Disease
Smoking is also a significant threat factor for heart disease. This is because tobacco use increases LDL “bad” saturated fatty acid levels in the blood. And it drops the levels of HDL “good” cholesterol.
These changes can lead to plaque in the arteries. When plaque forms, it restricts blood flow and increases the risk of stroke. Smokers are also more likely to develop high blood pressure. High blood pressure increases the risks associated with heart disease.
Smoking marijuana can increase your risk of lung infection and bronchitis. It can also make it difficult to fight off infections. In addition, smoking marijuana may contribute to heart disease. Smoking blunts (marijuana rolled in a tobacco leaf) is especially harmful. The reason why it’s unhealthy is that you expose yourself to smoke. Veriheal discusses other harmful side effects of smoking blunts and alternatives.
Medical marijuana is beneficial, though, and is used to help:
- Cancer patients
- Those with chronic pain
- People suffering from anxiety and depression
Unlike THC oil, CBD oil is non-psychoactive and does not make you high. You may consider using hash or CBD oil as opposed to smoking marijuana. There are other ways to consume marijuana as well. You can buy edibles at a local dispensary, for example.
3. Brain Health
Smoking can also have negative effects on brain health. For example, studies have shown that smokers are more likely to experience memory problems. Plus, they may also experience cognitive decline.
Smokers are also at increased risk for stroke, leading to dementia. In addition, smoking has been related to an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease.
The exact mechanism by which smoking causes these problems is not fully understood. But, it is thought that the chemicals in tobacco smoke damage brain cells. When it affects brain cells, it interferes with normal brain function.
To keep the brain healthy, it’s best to smoke less or stop smoking altogether.
4. Blood Vessels
Smoking can also damage the blood vessels, leading to several health problems. First, cigarette smoke causes the blood vessels to constrict. When the vessels constrict, it decreases blood flow and oxygen delivery to the tissues. This can lead to cell death and tissue damage.
In addition, smoking raises the risk of blood clots. When blood clots happen, it can hinder blood flow and lead to heart attack or stroke.
Smokers are also at increased risk for peripheral vascular disease. Peripheral vascular disease is a condition that causes narrowing of the arteries outside of the heart. This disease can lead to pain, numbness, and decreased circulation in the extremities.
5. Fertility and Pregnancy
Smoking can also affect fertility and pregnancy. Both men and women who smoke are at more considerable risk for infertility. In addition, smoking during pregnancy can lead to several health problems for the mother and child.
Some of the conditions are:
- Increased risk of miscarriage
- Preterm labor
- Stumpy birth weight
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Women who smoke during pregnancy are at risk of developing breast cancer. For a healthy pregnancy, it’s best to quit smoking before getting pregnant. If that’s not possible, devise a plan with your doctor to stop smoking throughout your pregnancy.
While the health effects of smoking are well-known, many people continue to smoke. Several resources are available to help you if you’re struggling to quit. Your doctor can provide information about quitting smoking. Furthermore, many phone and online quit smoking programs can support you.
You can also talk to your pharmacist about over-the-counter and prescription medications. If you find the proper medication, it may help you quit smoking.
Remember, stopping smoking and improving your health is never too late. So, start taking the right steps to improve your health today.