5 Overlooked Side Effects of Smoking

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in quit smoking, side effects

Dr. Howell

For sure, you know that smoking causes heart disease and cancer. You know it causes stress, anxiety disorder, and other mental problems. But still, you’re lighting up.

Quitting smoking might be difficult to manage. But if you are well-motivated, you can surely kick the habit off your life. Here are some other serious side effects of smoking that can increase your motivation to quit:

Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disorder characterised by severe memory loss. People with this condition find it hard to recognize people (even their loved ones), and forget many things and events, including their usual routines (brushing teeth, taking a bath, etc). In one study, scientists found that mental decline is five times more likely to be experienced by smokers than non-smokers. Many people don’t realize the debilitating consequences of quitting smoking until they reach old age.

Autoimmune Disease


An autoimmune disorder is a life-threatening condition wherein the patient’s immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys health tissues. This springs to many other diseases, which then lead to health deterioration. In another study, Harvard researchers studied the relationship between cigarette smoking and autoimmune disorder. They found that smokers have small, yet significant risk of developing lupus – is a chronic autoimmune disease that leads to inflammation, tissue damage, and pain.


Blindness

Smokers are four times more likely to become blind due to age-related macular degeneration, a study reveals. While all other risk factors of this condition have not been fully understood yet, experts say smoking significantly contribute to the development of macular degeneration.


Acid Reflux

Commonly known as heartburn – people who have smoked for 20 years are at a higher risk of suffering from acid reflux than non-smokers. Acid reflux is a condition in which the acid in the stomach rises up into the esophagus, leading to a burning sensation around the chest. Other risk factors for acid reflux include lack of exercise, improper diet, and too much alcohol.

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer that plague thousands of women and some men every year. In a study published in the journal National Cancer Institute, researchers found that the prevalence of breast cancer in smoking women is 30% higher than those who don’t smoke. Women who have started smoking at the age of 20, those who consume 20 or more cigarettes per day, and those who have smoked for at least 5 years prior their pregnancy are greatly prone to developing breast cancer.

Even Living with a Smoker Exposes You to Danger

Even if you don’t smoke, you are still at risk of any of these diseases if you are living with a smoker. Second-hand smoke is more dangerous to first-hand smoke as it contain additional toxins and chemical compounds that ruin your health. Ensuring that you and your family live in a smoke-free environment is one way to promote good health and long life. Quit smoking today and help someone quit.


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