Tag Archives: smoking and heart disease

Risk of Contracting Heart Disease for Smokers

If you are a smoker, you may wonder what your risk is for developing heart disease.

Research has shown a person’s increased risk of contracting is directly proportional to the length of time that a person continues to smoke as well as the amount smoked.

So if you smoke one or two cigarettes a day, you are at risk. If you smoke a pack or two a day, your risk greatly increases.

Heart ImageHowever, if someone stops smoking, then these chances gradually decrease over time because the body has the ability to slowly repair the damage caused from smoking.

A year after quitting, the risk of contracting heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker. Other symptoms from smoking can also gradually heal.

Click to learn more about > Heart Disease, Cardiovascular Disease

~American Heart Association

Cigarette Smoking and Its Impact on Spinal Fusions

Learn About the Prevalence of Cigarette Smoking

According to the American Cancer Society, “48 million adults (25.7 million men and 22.3 million women) were current smokers in the United States in 1997.”

Many of these adult smokers started during their teenage years. Unfortunately, even today people still begin to smoke cigarettes despite published statistics that show its negative impact on health.

The adverse effects of smoking include nicotine addiction, an increased risk of lung and other types of cancer, higher rates of arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and heart disease, as well as decreased life expectancy.

Cigarettes contain dried tobacco leaves and flavorings, which include more than 4,000 chemicals. Some of these substances are harmless until burned and breathed.

The Spine and Cigarette Smoking

Picture of SpineBone is a living tissue dependent on the functions and support provided by the other body systems. When these systems are not able to perform normally, bone is unable to rebuild itself. The formation of bone is particularly influenced by physical exercise and hormonal activity, both of which are adversely affected by cigarette smoking.

Many smokers have less physical endurance than nonsmokers, mainly due to decreased lung function. Cigarette smoking reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood and increases the level of harmful substances, such as carbon monoxide. This, combined with the effects of smoking on the heart and blood vessels, can limit the benefits from physical activity.

In men and women, cigarette smoking is known to influence hormone function. Smoking increases estrogen loss in women who are perimenopausal or postmenopausal. This can result in a loss of bone density and lead to osteoporosis. Osteoporosis causes bones to lose strength, becoming more fragile. This silent disease is responsible for many spine and hip fractures in the United States.

Spinal Fusion and Cigarette Smoking

Defined Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure used to join bony segments of the spine (e.g. vertebrae). In order for the fusion to heal, new bone growth must occur, bridging between the spinal segments. Sometimes fusion is combined with another surgical technique termed spinal instrumentation. Instrumentation consists of different types of medically designed hardware such as rods, hooks, wires, and screws that are attached to the spine. These devices provide immediate stability and hold the spine in proper position while the fusion heals.

Spinal fusion (also termed arthrodesis) can be performed at the cervical, thoracic, or lumbar levels of the spine. It takes months to heal. Your doctor may order post-operative radiographs (x-rays) to monitor the progress of this healing.

The long-term success of many types of spinal surgery is dependent upon successful spinal fusion. In fact, if the fusion does not heal, spinal surgery may have to be repeated. A failed fusion is termed a nonunion or pseudoarthrosis. Spinal instrumentation, although very strong, may even break if nonunion occurs. Needless to say, spine surgeons try to minimize the risk of this happening.

Cigarette Smoking and Failed Fusion

Certain factors have been found to affect the success of spinal fusion. Some of these factors include the patient’s age, underlying medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, osteoporosis), and cigarette smoking. There is growing evidence that cigarette smoking adversely affects fusion. Smoking disrupts the normal function of basic body systems that contribute to bone formation and growth. As mentioned previously, new bone growth is necessary for a fusion to heal.

Research has demonstrated that habitual cigarette smoking leads to the breakdown of the spine to such a degree that fusion is often less successful when compared to similar procedures performed on non-smokers. In a study of patients undergoing anterior cervical fusion (fusion of the neck), it was observed that smokers had an increased rate of nonunion (up to 47%) as compared to non-smokers.1

Another study evaluated tobacco use in patients who underwent lumbar (low back) fusion. The patients who smoked had failed fusions in up to 40% of cases, compared to only 8% among non-smokers.2 Similar findings have been reported in other studies as well.

Post-Operative Infection

Cigarette smoking compromises the immune system and the body’s other defense mechanisms, which can increase the patient’s susceptibility to post-operative infection. A study conducted by Thalgott et al showed that cigarette smoking was a risk factor for infection following spinal fusion.3

Conclusion

Clearly, cigarette smoking is detrimental to spinal fusion. People who are facing fusion or any spinal surgery should make every effort to stop smoking. Quitting the habit beforehand will decrease the associated risks and increase the likelihood of a successful spinal fusion surgery.

Your physician recognizes the importance of smoking cessation and can provide information about available treatment options.

References

1. An HS, Simpson JM, Glover JM, Stephany J. Comparison between allograft plus demineralized bone matrix versus autograft in anterior cervical fusion. A prospective multicenter study. Spine 1995; 20: 2211-16.

2. Brown CW, Orme TJ, Richardson HD. The rate of pseudarthrosis (surgical nonunion) in patients who are smokers and patients who are nonsmokers: a comparison study. Spine 1986; 9: 942-3

3. Thalgott JS, Cotler HB, Sasso RC, LaRocca H, Gardner V. Postoperative infections in spinal implants. Classification and analysis — a multicenter study. Spine 1991: 8: 981-4.
Original Source: Larry Davidson, M.D. Spine Universe, Memphis, TN, USA 07/28/2006

Cigarette Ingredients and Composition

Cigarettes look deceptively simple, consisting of paper tubes containing chopped up tobacco leaf, usually with a filter at the mouth end.

In fact, they are highly engineered products, designed to deliver a steady dose of nicotine.

Cigarette tobacco is blended from two main leaf varieties: yellowish ‘bright’, also known as Virginia where it was originally grown, contains 2.5-3% nicotine; and ‘burley’ tobacco which has higher nicotine content (3.5-4%).

US blends also contain up to 10% of imported ‘oriental’ tobacco which is aromatic but relatively low (less than 2%) in nicotine.

In addition to the leaf blend, cigarettes contain ‘fillers’ which are made from the stems and other bits of tobacco, which would otherwise be waste products. These are mixed with water and various flavorings and additives. The ratio of filler varies among brands.

For example, high filler content makes a less dense cigarette with a slightly lower tar delivery. Additives are used to make tobacco products more acceptable to the consumer.

They include humectants (moisturizers) to prolong shelf life; sugars to make the smoke seem milder and easier to inhale; and flavorings such as chocolate and vanilla. While some of these may appear to be quite harmless in their natural form they may be toxic in combination with other substances.

Also when the 600 permitted additives are burned, new products of combustion are formed and these may be toxic.

The nicotine and tar delivery can also be modified by the type of paper used in the cigarette. Using more porous paper will let more air into the cigarette, diluting the smoke and (in theory) reducing the amount of tar and nicotine reaching the smoker’s lungs.

Filters are made of cellulose acetate and trap some of the tar and smoke particles from the inhaled smoke. Filters also cool the smoke slightly, making it easier to inhale. They were added to cigarettes in the 1950s, in response to the first reports that smoking was hazardous to health. Tobacco companies claimed that their filtered brands had lower tar than others and encouraged consumers to believe that they were safer.

Tobacco smoke is made up of “sidestream smoke” from the burning tip of the cigarette and “mainstream smoke” from the filter or mouth end.

Tobacco smoke contains thousands of different chemicals which are released into the air as particles and gases.

Many toxins are present in higher concentrations in sidestream smoke than in mainstream smoke and, typically, nearly 85% of the smoke in a room results from sidestream smoke.

The particulate phase includes nicotine, “tar” (itself composed of many chemicals), benzene and benzo(a)pyrene. The gas phase includes carbon monoxide, ammonia, dimethylnitrosamine, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide and acrolein. Some of these have marked irritant properties and some 60, including benzo(a)pyrene and dimethylnitrosamine, have been shown to cause cancer.

One study has established the link between smoking and lung cancer at the cellular level. It found that a substance in the tar of cigarettes, benzo(a)pyrene diol epoxide (BPDE), damages DNA in a key tumour suppresser gene.

What is Cigarette Tar?

“Tar”, also known as total particulate matter, is inhaled when the smoker draws on a lighted cigarette. In its condensate form, tar is the sticky brown substance (filled with chemicals) which can stain smokers’ fingers and teeth yellow-brown. All cigarettes produce tar but the brands differ in amounts.

The average tar yield of cigarettes has declined from about 30mg per cigarette in the period 1955 to 61 to 11mg today. There have also been reductions in nicotine (from an average of about 2mg in 1955, 61 to about 0.9mg by 1996). Until January 1992, information about tar yields of cigarettes was given in a general fashion on cigarette packets and advertisements as a result of a voluntary agreement between the tobacco industry and the Government.

Due to labeling (Safety) regulations requirements for health warnings on tobacco, cigarette packets must include a statement of both the tar and the nicotine yield per cigarette on the packet itself. The same figures are printed on cigarette advertising, along with the health warning, as part of a voluntary agreement between the industry and health regulators.

Following the discovery in the 1950s that it was the tar in tobacco smoke which was associated with the increased risk of lung cancer, tobacco companies, with the approval of successive governments, embarked on a program to gradually reduce the tar levels in cigarettes.

Although there is a moderate reduction in lung cancer risk associated with lower tar cigarettes, research suggests that the assumed health advantages of switching to lower tar may be largely offset by the tendency of smokers to compensate for the reduction in nicotine (cigarettes lower in tar also tend to be lower in nicotine) by smoking more or inhaling more deeply.

Also, a study by the American Cancer Society found that the use of filtered, lower tar cigarettes may be the cause of adenocarcinoma, a particular kind of lung cancer. There is no evidence that switching to lower tar cigarettes reduces coronary heart disease risk.

Cigarette IngredientsNicotine, an alkaloid, is an extremely powerful drug. The Royal College of Physicians in England and the Surgeon General in USA have affirmed that the way in which nicotine causes addiction is similar to drugs such as heroin and cocaine.

Only 60mg of pure nicotine (contained in two packs of cigarettes) placed on a person’s tongue would kill within minutes.

Nicotine is contained in the moisture of the tobacco leaf: when the cigarette is lit, it evaporates, attaching itself to minute droplets in the tobacco smoke inhaled by the smoker. It is absorbed by the body very quickly, reaching the brain within 7-15 seconds.

It stimulates the central nervous system, increasing the heart beat rate and blood pressure, leading to the heart needing more oxygen. Carbon Monoxide, the main poisonous gas in car exhausts, is present in all cigarette smoke. It binds to haemoglobin much more readily than oxygen, thus causing the blood to carry less oxygen.

Heavy smokers may have the oxygen carrying power of their blood cut by as much as 15%.

Source: Emirates Hospital, Dubai – U.A.E

~CiggyBot

— *~ When fate closes a door go in through a window~*

Is It Really Worth Dying Over?

Since the 1957 report suggested a link between smoking and lung cancer, the connection has been firmly established.

Lung cancer now kills 20,000 people every year and health experts predict that lifetime smokers have a fifty percent chance of dying of a smoking-related illness in middle-age.

It is also been established that tobacco smoking causes at least twenty-five different diseases including heart disease and strokes.

By 2020, the World Health Organization expects the worldwide death toll to reach ten million, causing 17.7% of all deaths in developed countries.

There are believed to be 1.1 billion smokers in the world, 800 million of them in developing countries.

Source: BBC News [27 June 2006]