If you think you already know what the health effects of smoking are, you may be wrong. Smoking may not only cause cancer or heart disease. Its health dangers go beyond these popular illnesses. And with every puff you make, you are exposing yourself to these life-threatening potential health risks.
According to a study of 9,200 men and women over 65 years old, the rate of mental decline is up to five times faster in smokers than in non-smokers. Prior the study, participants took a standardized test to detect mental impairment, and then another two years later. The study, published in the journal Neurology, found higher rates of mental decline were found in men and women and in persons with or without a family history of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. This study provides substantial evidence that chronic tobacco use is harmful to the brain and speeds up onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
An analysis of 9 studies by Harvard researchers suggests that smoking cigarettes raises the risk of developing lupus, while quitting cuts the risk. Such disease, technically called systemic lupus erythematosus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can cause inflammation, pain, and tissue damage throughout the body. Among current smokers, there was “a small but significant increased risk” for the development of lupus, they report. However, those who smoked before but managed to quit did not have such an increased risk. The analysis was reported in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.
Yes, smoking makes babies irritable too. According to a review of more than 30 studies, exposure to tobacco smoke may increase babies’ risk of colic. This condition affects 5%-28% of babies in the Western countries. While the true cause has not been established yet, colic is linked to everything from exposure to cow’s milk proteins to feeding difficulties to maternal depression or anxiety. Symptoms include irritability, inconsolable crying, red face, clenched fists, drawn-up legs, and screaming.
Research of nearly 5,000 Chinese men showed that men who smoked more than a pack a day were 60% more likely to suffer erectile dysfunction, compared with men who never smoked cigarettes. The study, which was presented at the American Heart Association’s annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention, found that 15% of past and present smokers had experienced erectile dysfunction, more commonly known as impotence.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is common among the elderly. However, those who smoke are far more likely to suffer from it than those who don’t. While all the risk factors have not been established yet, research points smoking as one of the major and preventable causes of macular degeneration.