Your Personal Habits Could Be Making You Very Sick
Oct. 24, 2016 at midnight
Once cool and popular, cigarettes have long since been exposed as silent and efficient killers. Cigarettes and the noxious chemicals in them target all vital organs, reduce the quality of life and bring about a large number of diseases. Here are 10 of the worst diseases caused by smoking:
1. Lung Cancer
Smoking and lung cancer go hand in hand. Cigarettes and other tobacco products are linked to more than 80% of all instances of lung cancer in the US. Smokers themselves are up to 30 times more likely to develop lung cancer but even having a cigarette once in a while can increase the risk. Quitting at any time is still a great idea since lungs can heal and revert the damage.
2. Other Forms of Cancer
Besides tobacco, cigarettes contain roughly 7000 other chemicals out of which more than 70 are carcinogens and many others are just plain harmful to the human body. These chemicals travel through the organism spreading their negative effect. This can lead to the development of many types of cancer, including those of the colon, stomach, mouth, throat, liver, rectum, and esophagus.
By harming arteries, the act of smoking is very detrimental to blood flow. Having bad circulation can increase the risk of triggering a stroke. A brain that is temporarily deprived of blood and oxygen may never fully recover. Studies show that the chance is doubled and even quadrupled when it comes to smokers.
4. Heart Disease
Tobacco chemicals are known to damage blood cells, cause arteries to narrow due to the forming of plaque, and force the heart to function poorly. Smoking can lead to atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease, exposing the smoker to a higher risk of suffering from arrhythmias and heart attacks.
￼￼￼￼5. Type 2 Diabetes
A smoker's chance of developing type 2 diabetes is 30 to 40% higher than a non-smoker's. Not only does smoking increase the risk of getting it, but also makes the disease itself much harder to manage. People with diabetes who continue to smoke can easily suffer from complications like infections in legs and feet, blindness and kidney disease.
Chronic Obtrusive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is often caused by smoking and can be both debilitating and lethal. Damage to the lungs and airways causes breathing difficulties, leaving a person unable to perform activities that require physical effort.
While smoking itself does not cause asthma, it can trigger it with ease. Chemicals found in cigarettes irritate the airways by damaging cilia. With no functioning cilia, mucus and dust are free to settle in the airways, causing asthma symptoms to worsen. Secondhand smoke is just as harmful since tar and carbon monoxide are inhaled by passive smokers.
8. Ectopic Pregnancy
An ectopic pregnancy is defined by the inability of a fertilized egg to reach the uterus. It can happen if the fallopian tube through which it travels is damaged. The egg then remains in the tube and, if left untreated, can cause infections that can lead to death. Women who smoke face higher risks of going through an ectopic pregnancy since smoking can make fallopian tubes function poorly.
9. Birth Defects
Studies prove that smoking during pregnancy increases the chances of birth defects in newborn babies. Babies affected by maternal smoking face higher risks of being born with shortened or missing limbs, heart defects, gastrointestinal abnormalities, and cleft palates and lips.
10. Loss of Vision
￼￼￼Smokers are at a higher risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) later in life. AMD is the leading cause of blindness when it comes to people over 65 years of age. Symptoms include the appearance of a blurred area close to the center of vision. As the disease advances, the area grows larger.
Have you ever told someone “I’ll quit when I’m ready”? There is no perfect time to quit smoking, and you may develop one of these serious smoking-related illnesses while you are waiting to be “ready.” On average, smokers die an entire decade before non-smokers. The time to quit is now. There are many smoking cessation devices to choose from. Nicotine gum, nicotine patches, and e-cigarettes allow you to step down your nicotine gradually to avoid withdrawal symptoms. A recent study shows that e-cigarettes are 95% safer than smoking and another one reported high rates of success among first-time users. Whichever route you decide to go, quitting now will add time to your life.