You know that cigarettes damage your lungs. But did you know that it can also cause great damage on your brain? This article will explain how.
Cigarette smoking increases risk of dementia
Several studies have found a link between smoking and memory problems, particularly dementia. Recent evidence suggests that cigarette smoking increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. In a research carried out by the University of Texas Medical School, mice that were bred to show signs of Alzheimer’s and exposed to cigarette smoke suffered from worsened symptoms compared with mice that weren’t exposed. What’s more, cigarette smoke-exposed mice had higher levels of amyloid beta plaques in their brain – the protein that is known to cause dementia-causing inflammation.
Smoking speeds up brain aging.
Scientists at the Kings College London conducted a study to identify the possible link between cardiovascular and stroke risk and cognitive decline in adults over the age of 50. They found that smoking increased the rate by which the brain ages, which in turn increases the odds of mental decline.
Smoking may cause stroke.
Stroke is among the leading causes of death in America, destroying the lives of over 130,000 people every year. Smoking causes around 40 percent of all strokes in older adults ages 60 and above. Stroke occurs when a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain is blocked, depriving the brain of oxygen. Whilst many people survive stroke, most of them develop life-long complications or disabilities such as impaired mobility, loss of speech, and memory problems. The good thing is that the risk of stroke reduces after quitting. Between 5 and 15 years of quitting, a former smoker’s risk of stroke would have gone down to that of a non-smoker.
Smoking literally ‘rots’ the brain.
Another study, published in 21012 in the journal Age and Ageing, found that smoking ‘rots’ the brain by damaging memory, learning and reasoning. According to the researchers, obesity and high blood pressure affect the brain, but not to the extent that smoking does. Smoking was also linked to poor mental performance (participants who were smokers had lower scores in cognitive tests).
Smoking induces lack of concentration.
Not only does the insufficient supply of oxygen damages vital parts of the brain, it also causes fatigue to creep in. The lack of oxygen and the impaired flow of blood are the reasons why smokers often feel fidgety and restless.
It inhibits the natural ‘feel-good’ receptors in the brain.
A large body of research suggests that smokers are more prone to experiencing depressive moods due to the reduction of “feel good” receptors in their brain. Even though nicotine causes a sudden increase in mood, it has long-term negative consequences. When the smoker stops, the symptoms of withdrawal start to creep in.
Smoking causes the brain to shrink.
Scientists have found that people suffering from multiple sclerosis have higher odds of brain shrinkage and lesions.
As you can see, the effects of smoking on your brain are quite severe. If you want to live longer and grow old having a healthy, sharp brain, better quit smoking today.