There are over a billion people in the world who smoke. Most of them, if not all, experience different side effects, ranging from yellowish teeth and foul body odor to more serious health problems that are often life-threatening. Before you light that cigarette, you may want to think about the possible outcomes of your action first. Think of what might happen to you in the long run. Is it possible that you develop a disease? If yes, what kind of disease? Below are the 5 deadliest illnesses that you are likely to develop if you do not stop smoking today:
1. Heart Disease
Heart disease remains to be the number one killer in the world. Gone are the days when heart disease only affects older people. Today, even children are diagnosed with cardiovascular illnesses, particularly high blood pressure. There are various risk factors for heart disease but one of the greatest is smoking. Studies found that smokers are more likely to have a heart attack than non-smokers. This is because smoking increases one’s blood pressure which in turn, raises the possibility of developing blood clots. When the clot blocks the flow of blood in the heart, it may lead to death.
When the clot is formed in the brain, stroke is likely to happen. It is the third leading cause of death in the United States (next to heart disease and cancer). In the study by the Stroke Association, it was predicted that over 8,000 people are going to die from stroke due to smoking at the start of the millennium. Many people who survived stroke develop temporary and sometimes permanent disability and mobility problems. Some even become paralyzed.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a life-long degenerative disease that until now has no cure yet. People with COPD are always having difficulty breathing which greatly affects their quality of life. They easily get tired that even doing simple activities like walking, dressing themselves, etc become too much exhausting. Smoking is the major cause of COPD. Studies show that majority of people with COPD are smokers or ex-smokers. The body of a person with this condition gets weaker and weaker over time and the risk of dying is very high.
4. Lung Cancer
The biggest cause of lung cancer in the world is smoking. This disease occurs when the lungs have been exposed to free radicals and other toxins for a long time. In the US, there are around 50 million smokers and all of them are at risk of lung cancer. Among those who already have the disease, only less than 15% are able to survive.
Quitting Cuts the Health Risk
Regardless of your age, you can still improve your health by quitting smoking today. According to experts, the health risks of smoking are reduced the moment you stop puffing your cigarette. If you quit before reaching middle age, you can add 9 more years to your lifespan. Isn’t that great? But this doesn’t mean you should wait for that time before you finally quit. In the study published recently in the Lancet, scientists warned that those who smoke still face a higher mortality rate than those who never smoked.