Tag Archives: smoking related illnesses

On Average 10 Year Decrease in Life Expectancy for Smokers

If you are a smoker who just doesn’t want to quit, then you are subjecting yourself to a shorter life span than average.

By continuing to smoke, you have a greater chance of losing 10 years off your life, time that could be spent with your loved ones.

You also subject yourself to a general decline in health during those last years of your life while you are afflicted with one or several health complications as a result from smoking. These are health struggles that you also subject your loved ones to witness. Is it worth it?

What Quitting Smoking Can Do For You

Now that you know that a long-term smoker, on average, has a life expectancy of about 10 years less than a non-smoker, it is time to seek support and help to stop smoking now.

If you have smoked since your teen years or young adulthood, your chances of reversing any damage is significant. By stopping before the age of 35, you greatly improve your risk of any damage compared to people who have never smoked.

If you choose to stop smoking prior to the age of 50, the risk of dying from smoking-related diseases decreases by fifty percent. You can decrease that even further by making better health, nutrition, and diet choices.

Not Quitting Can Kill You

Quitting smoking not only dramatically improves your overall life expectancy, but it can improve your general well-being and overall health. No matter what your age or how long you’ve been smoking, it’s never too late to quit.

If you are hard-headed and need greater evidence on the decrease in life expectancy of smokers, take a look at this very long list of celebrities whose shortened life spans were caused from smoking tobacco.

As you can see, so many talented individuals died much earlier than the average life expectancy. And those who lived until their 80s struggled through many years of health afflictions—such as heart attack, emphysema, lung cancer, and throat cancer—due to their dangerous addiction to smoking.

Celebrity or not, no smoker is immune from smoking-related illnesses or even death.

Click for >  Celebrities Who Died From Smoking Related Illness

Smoking-Related Illnesses Come with Significant Costs

Nicotine dependence is the physical vulnerability to the chemical nicotine, which is potently addicting when delivered by various tobacco products.

Smoke from cigarettes, cigars and pipes contains thousands of chemicals, including nicotine.

Being addicted to tobacco brings a host of health problems related to the substances in tobacco smoke. These effects include damage to the lungs, heart and blood vessels.

According to the American Lung Association, smoking cost the United States over $193 billion in 2004, including $97 billion in lost productivity and $96 billion in direct health care expenditures, or an average of $4,260 per adult smoker.

Vintage Photo Girl SmokingWhen people inhale, they are ingesting a chemical parade that marches through the body’s vital organs. Mayo Clinic.com reviews the negative health effects throughout the body, including:

Lungs. Smoking is the cause of most cases of lung cancer. Smoking also is the primary cause of other lung problems, such as emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and chronic bronchitis.

Heart and circulatory system. Smoking increases your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke. If people smoke more than 25 cigarettes daily, they have five times the risk of heart disease compared to someone who doesn’t smoke.

Cancer. Smoking is a major cause of cancer of the esophagus, larynx, throat (pharynx) and mouth and contributes to cancer of the bladder, pancreas, liver, kidney, cervix, stomach, colon and rectum, and some leukemias.

Appearance. The chemicals in tobacco smoke can dry and irritate the skin, as well as promote wrinkles. Smoking also yellows teeth, fingers and fingernails.

Fertility. Smoking increases the risk of infertility and miscarriage in women and the risk of impotence and infertility in men.

Senses. Smoking deadens the senses of taste and smell, so food isn’t as appetizing as it once was.For most people, smoking cessation is difficult. In fact, quitting smoking might be one of the most challenging things an individual ever does. A feature on MayoClinic.com explains why smoking cessation matters, what to expect and how to stick with it.

Rochester, MN (PRWEB) October 10, 2008 

About the Mayo Clinic Website

Launched in 1995 and visited more than 15 million times a month, this award-winning Web site offers health information, self-improvement and disease management tools to empower people to manage their health.

Produced by a team of Web professionals and medical experts, MayoClinic.com gives users access to the experience and knowledge of the more than 3,300 physicians and scientists of Mayo Clinic.

MayoClinic.com offers intuitive, easy-to-use tools such as “Symptom Checker” and “First-Aid Guide” for fast answers about health conditions ranging from common to complex; as well as an A-Z library of more than 850 diseases and conditions, in-depth sections on 24 common diseases and conditions, 16 healthy living areas including food and nutrition, recipes, fitness and weight control, videos, animations and features such as “Ask a Specialist” and “Drug Watch.”

Users can sign up for a free weekly e-newsletter called “Housecall” which provides the latest health information from Mayo Clinic.

For more information, visit > The MayoClinic.com – Nicotine dependence

Smoking May Trigger Depression in Women

Smoking is widely known to damage the body but new Australian research suggests the addictive habit could be taking a toll on the mind too.

A study of more than a thousand women has found that females who smoke are more likely to develop major depression.

Heavy smokers – those who smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day – have almost double the risk of developing diagnosable depression than non smokers.

It has long been known that people with depression are more likely to smoke, but this longterm study is one of the first to suggest the habit may be triggering mental illness.

University of Melbourne researchers tracked healthy women for more than a decade, giving them a psychiatric assessment at the end.

“It was at this point we were able to determine if depression had developed and investigate whether or not smoking pre-dated the onset of depression,” said study leader Professor Julie Pasco.

Another study of 671 healthy women revealed 15 per cent of smokers went on to develop depression, compared to 6.5 per cent of non smokers.

“This shows us that non smokers were at lower risk for developing major depressive disorder, suggesting that smoking may play a role in the development of the disease in women,” Prof Pasco said. The findings gave grounds for greater efforts to encourage smokers to quit, she said.Anne Jones, chief executive of anti-smoking group Action on Smoking and Health, said the results were proof the effects of smoking extended beyond physical ills like cancer and heart disease.

“This is a very serious finding and yet another good reason to renew efforts to get Australians to give it up.

Smoking and Depression“We’ve got a blow-out in mental illness in Australia and here we’ve got a cause of mental illness that is being sold in every petrol station and corner store in the country,” Ms Jones said.

Australia’s smoking statistics are dropping but women are quitting at a slower rate than men.

“Mass media campaigns have not been effective at getting the message through to women that quitting is the best thing they can do for their health,” Ms Jones said.

Source: The Age

Since 1878 Reports Confirmed Smoking Was a Health Hazard

1878: Eighty-six years before the U.S. surgeon general issues a report confirming the dangers of smoking tobacco, a letter from English physician Charles R. Drysdale condemning its use appears in The Times of London.

Drysdale, the senior physician to the Metropolitan Free Hospital in London, had already published a book on this subject titled Tobacco and the Diseases It Produces, when he wrote the letter that described smoking as “the most evident of all the retrograde influences of our time.”

Drysdale had been on an anti-smoking crusade since at least 1864, the year he published a study documenting the effects on young men of consuming ¾ ounce of tobacco daily. That study reported cases of jaundice, and at least one subject having “most distressing palpitations of the heart.”

Drysdale’s book pinpointed nicotine as the dangerous agent and reported its ill effects on the lungs, circulation system, even the skin.

Havana-cut tobacco contained roughly 2 percent nicotine, while Virginia tobacco was a more toxic 7 percent, Drysdale pointed out. (Tobacco was a product of the New World and had to be imported to Europe.)

He also warned against exposure to second-hand smoke: “Women who wait in public bar-rooms and smoking-saloons, though not themselves smoking, cannot avoid the poisoning caused by inhaling smoke continually. Surely gallantry, if not common honesty, should suggest the practical inference from this fact.”

The prolific Drysdale wrote on a variety of other related subjects as well, including medicine as a profession for women and issues related to population control.

Despite Drysdale’s warnings, and despite the establishment of numerous anti-smoking movements, little was done to curb smoking anywhere in the world.

Though physicians and scientists understood there were numerous health hazards associated with the practice, the number of smokers increased dramatically in the first half of the 20th century. Thank you, Madison Avenue. Thank you, Hollywood.

The turning point probably came in 1957, when then-Surgeon General Leroy Burney reported a causal link between smoking and lung cancer. It was left to Burney’s successor, Luther Terry, to lower the boom.

Under Terry’s direction, a special committee produced Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General.

This 1964 bombshell — so volatile that it was released on a Saturday to minimize the effect on the stock market — began a massive change in people’s attitudes toward smoking.

And to think it only took 86 years.

Toenails Reveal All

Your toes tell it all, ladies.

Toenail clippings can provide evidence of tobacco exposure and help explain the risk of heart disease, at least in women, according to a unique study from the University of California-San Diego and Harvard University.

The medical researchers examined levels of nicotine in toenails of 905 women who were diagnosed with coronary heart disease from 1984 through 1998.

The women were among the 62,641 participants in the Nurse’s Health Study. Those with heart disease were randomly matched to two other participants by age and by the date that their toenails were collected.

The twenty percent of women who had the highest nicotine levels in their toenails turned out to have more than triple the risk of being diagnosed with heart disease as those whose levels put them in the lowest twenty percent. The risk remained significantly higher after the researchers took smoking into account, adjusting for the number of cigarettes smoked as well as exposure to second hand smoke.

Women's Toenails“Using toenail nicotine is a novel way to objectively measure exposure to tobacco smoke, and ultimately, to increase our understanding of tobacco-related illness, said Wael Al-Delaimy, of UC-San Diego’s department of family and preventive medicine, lead author of the study published this month in the American Journal of Epidemiology. “This would be especially helpful in situations where smoking history is not available or is biased.”

Source: Josh Goldstein, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Could Genetics Play a Role in Degrees of Addiction?

As a practicing hypochondriac it was of particular interest to me to learn about a research company in, of all places, Iceland, which is making what could be historic advances in medicine through the study of human genetics.

This company, deCODE genetics, is exploiting a most unusual data base: that of the total population of Iceland where excellent records have been kept since Norwegian and Celtic (Scottish and Irish) settlers arrived there about ten centuries ago. Today there are only slightly more than 300 000 Icelanders, of whom 94 percent are descended from the original settlers. For gene searchers this is, apparently, like a gift from heaven.

It is akin to having a vast private laboratory, enabling research on thousands of volunteers uniquely related in a manner which renders the search for genetic clues to future health problems. For example, more than 50,000 Icelanders, that is one-sixth of the population, participated in research into the disposition to smoking and, for smokers, the inherent risks of contracting diseases linked to nicotine.

Now deCODE is coming up with suggestions that, through the study of human genetic makeup, or our DNA, it can be predicted with accuracy that one will be predisposed to a particular kind of illness or even, as in the case of cigarette smoking, particular types of addiction.

The company’s scientists have established “a clear link between a single-letter variant of the human genome (SNP) and susceptibility to nicotine dependence.”

Such addiction can lead, for example, to lung cancer and peripheral arterial disease (PAD), a common and debilitating constriction of the arteries to the legs.

The odds of this happening to a given individual can be calculated using these genetic techniques.

The research, which also studied smokers in New Zealand, Austria, Sweden, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain, revealed that there is correspondence not only between genetic makeup and the likelihood of addiction but also to the approximate number of cigarettes an addict is likely to smoke daily.

DeCODE has also isolated key genes “contributing to major public health challenges from cardiovascular disease to cancer, genes that are providing us with drug targets rooted in the basic biology of disease”.

smoking cigarettesGiven the incidence in South Africa of dermatological problems such as the deadly cutaneous melanoma (CM) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC) it is interesting to learn that it is not only very fair skin, blue or green eyes, freckles, red hair and exposure to ultraviolet light (obviously prevalent in South Africa) that can expose one to CM and BCC.

Scientists at deCODE have discovered that “a novel, tightly-linked pair of single-letter variants” near a certain gene on chromosome 20 and another on chromosome 11 specifically increases our susceptibility to sunburn and hence to its dangers.

All this should be of enormous future use to the medical profession, although one suspects that our health minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, would probably prefer some quackery or other for guidance rather than the research of serious Icelandic scientists.

Interestingly, the company offers a personal, on-line service for those wishing to explore their genome tree or whatever geneticists call these things. Just log on to www.decodeme.com – although I haven’t done this, so I cannot advise you what to expect.

By the way, this little cutting edge company is listed on the Nasdaq in New York and the stock quote is DCGN. This writer holds no shares.

Source: Stephen Mulholland, Dispatch Online

Understanding Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Part I

Chronic Pulmonary Disease kills over 100 thousand Americans each year.

This makes COPD the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.

Take a moment and learn about COPD, and how this combination of diseases (chronic bronchitis and emphysema) combine to create COPD, and how to detect it.

click for > Part Two: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Researchers Identify Genetic Variant Linked To Nicotine Addiction

NIDA Researchers Identify Genetic Variant Linked To Nicotine Addiction And Lung Cancer – Variant Also Increases Risk For Cardiovascular Disease

Scientists have identified a genetic variant that not only makes smokers more susceptible to nicotine addiction but also increases their risk of developing two smoking-related diseases, lung cancer and peripheral arterial disease.

The research was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The study, published in the April 3 issue of the journal Nature, “highlights the advances that are being made in genetics research, which can now identify gene variants that increase the risk of complex bio-behavioral disorders,” says NIH Director Dr. Elias Zerhouni. “This finding will help us in our efforts to further reduce the scope and devastating consequences of cigarette smoking.”

“These results suggest for the first time that a single genetic variant not only can predispose to nicotine addiction but may also increase sensitivity to extremely serious smoking-related diseases,” explains NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow. “Additionally, it points to potential targets for new smoking-cessation medications that may be more effective at helping smokers to quit.”

The variant is closely linked to two of the known subunits of nicotine receptors, the sites on the surface of many cells in the brain and body that can be bound by nicotine. When nicotine attaches to these receptors in the brain, there are changes in cell activity that results in its addictive effects.Carriers of this genetic variant are more likely than noncarriers to be heavy smokers, dependent on nicotine, and less likely to quit smoking. “The variant does not increase the likelihood that a person will start smoking, but for people who do smoke it increases the likelihood of addiction,” says Dr. Kári Stefánsson, the study’s principal investigator and chief executive officer of deCODE Genetics, a biopharmaceutical company based in Reykjavik, Iceland.

The variant was identified through a technique known as genome-wide association, in which DNA samples (from more than 10,000 Icelandic smokers) were analyzed for the presence of more than 300,000 genetic markers. Subsequent investigation showed that carriers of the variant strongly associated with nicotine dependence were also at increased risk for two smoking-related diseases, peripheral arterial disease and lung cancer. The findings were replicated in populations from five European countries and New Zealand. The researchers estimate that the variant explains 18 percent of cases of lung cancer and 10 percent of cases of peripheral arterial disease in smokers.

Nicotine addictionThe same variant was identified as one that increased risk for lung cancer in two other articles appearing in the April 3rd, 2008, issues of Nature and Nature Genetics, partially funded by two other NIH institutes–the National Cancer Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute.

For more information on Smoking/Nicotine: http://www.drugabuse.gov/DrugPages/Nicotine.html

The National Institute on Drug Abuse

The National Institute on Drug Abuse is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports most of the world’s research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction.

The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to inform policy and improve practice. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs of abuse and information on NIDA research and other activities can be found on the NIDA web site at http://www.drugabuse.gov.

The National Institutes of Health

(NIH) – The Nation’s Medical Research Agency – includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

It is the primary Federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.

Smoking Associated With Both Anxiety And Depression

A new study indicates that smoking is linked to anxiety with depression, as well as to anxiety alone.

However, people who are depressed but not anxious smoke the same as any other smokers.

These findings come from a joint study from Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH), University of Bergen and King’s College in London.

The link between smoking and anxiety/depression was most apparent among women and young people.

Data were collected from 60 000 participants in “Health Studies in North-Troendelag” (HUNT), a study based in a county in northern Norway.

Figures from the World Health Organisation (WHO) show that 30 percent of inhabitants in the western world smoke daily. Earlier studies have found that people with mental health problems are twice as likely to smoke as the rest of the population. Injuries to physical health after smoking are well documented. It is also known that smoking is linked to other psychological problems. Anxiety and depression are the most common complaints and are often both present in people who smoke.

Anxiety and Depression Most Common Among Smokers

Arnstein Mykletun is the primary author of the article “Smoking in relation to anxiety and depression: Evidence from a large population survey: The HUNT study” published in European Psychiatry (see link under related articles). Mykletun is linked to the Division of Mental Health at NIPH but his main position is at the University of Bergen.

Depression is realMykletun explains that the study shows the strongest correlation with smoking when the subject is both anxious and depressed, next strongest with anxiety without depression and with a marginal correlation between smoking and depression without anxiety. There was no reduction in anxiety and depression over time after smoking was given up.

About the study:

  • Approximately 60 000 people in the age 20 – 89 years old who took part in HUNT were included in the study (HUNT has a total of 92 000 participants).
  • All participants were screened using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS).
  • Smoking was defined as daily use of cigarettes, cigars or a pipe.
  • 29 percent of participants said they were active smokers. A similar number said that they had quit smoking while 42 per cent had previously smoked.
  • 9.6 percent had anxiety, 4.9 % had depression, while 5.9 % had both, as defined by HADS.

Link to article (abstract): Smoking in relation to anxiety and depression: The HUNT study

Smoking Gets Into Your Skin Too

Smokers can add a new health risk to the ever-growing list of hazards posed by their habit: the unsightly and often painful skin condition known as psoriasis.

We all know that smoking can effect the health of the skin, including increasing skin wrinkles, but this recent study indicates the odds of developing other serious skin conditions.

American and Canadian investigators who analyzed data from the long-running Nurses Health Study find smoking increases the risk of psoriasis by 78 percent when compared to never smoking.

The link between smoking and psoriasis is long-lasting too. Former smokers have a 37 percent higher risk overall, and the risk doesn’t decline until 20 years after a person kicks the habit.

Heavier smokers fare worse than lighter smokers too. In the study, psoriasis risk went up with the number of “pack-years” smoked. A pack-year is defined as smoking 20 cigarettes per day for one year.

Even exposure to secondhand smoke appeared to increase the danger, with a higher risk seen for study participants who were exposed to smoke while their mothers were pregnant or when they were children.

Skin Irritation from Smoking“These findings, along with well-established hazardous health effects of smoking, provide clear incentives for smoking cessation in those at risk for and suffering from psoriasis,” study author Hyon K. Choi, M.D., Dr.P.H., was quoted as saying. “Beyond the potential effect on psoriasis, smoking cessation would lead to a better overall clinical outcome in psoriasis patients, who often suffer co-morbidities related to smoking.”

This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, which offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, click on: http://www.ivanhoe.com/newsalert/.

SOURCE: The American Journal of Medicine, published October 29, 2007

Click to learn more about > psoriasis.