Tag Archives: smoking related illness

Cigarette Smoking and the Human Spine

Smoking effects the flow of blood throughout our bodies.

There are only two structures in the adult human body which, under normal circumstances, lack a blood supply in adult life.

One, the cornea of the eye which gets its nutrition from tears.

Secondly, the intervertebral disc, which obtains its nutrition from the convection and diffusion of nutrients from the end plates of adjacent vertebral bodies.

Picture of the SpineBy smoking cigarettes, nicotine and carbon monoxide infuse into the blood stream and then into body tissues.

These poisons have a particularly destructive effect on intervertebral discs (and corneas) because of their precarious nutritional status.

Read the rest of the Burton Report here > Smoking Cigarettes Effects on the Human Spine

Smoking Related to Erectile Dysfunction and Sperm Count

A number of studies show that smoking is related to the difficulty getting and maintaining an erection.

Many toxins present in cigarettes especially carbon monoxide, can damage the circulatory system, which hinders the flow of blood in the penis which is necessary for erection.

In addition, smoking is one of the major causes of Erectile Dysfunction.

A study published in the Journal of Urology in 2000 found out that 68% of men with high blood pressure aged 40-79 experienced erectile dysfunction. At least 45% of these cases were considered severe sexual ailments.

Erectile DysfunctionHigh blood pressure in men may lead to low testosterone levels, which is a male hormone that plays a crucial role in the sexual arousal. Low testosterone levels lead to decreased arousal and sexual performance.

Toxins found in cigarettes may also harm the testes. Smoking may affect the semen and the sperm, reducing their mobility and quality. Men who smoke tend to have lower sperm counts and malformed sperms than their non-smoking counterparts.

Click to learn more about > Erectile Dysfunction

Strong Link Seen in Smoking, Age-Related Blindness

People who smoke are about four times more likely to develop age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of severe vision loss, Australian researchers reported.

Researchers followed for 10 years 2,454 Australians who were at least age 49 at the study’s outset.

Along with being more likely to develop age-related macular degeneration, smokers developed the disease an average of 5 years earlier than non-smokers, according to the study.

The results confirm those of other studies that also found a link between smoking and an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration. Previous smokers were three times as likely to have an advanced form of the disease than people who never smoked, the study also found.

EyesThe researchers asked the study participants about past and current smoking and their diet, and took retinal photos as well as weight and blood-pressure measurements.

Experts consider cigarette smoking the most preventable cause of macular degeneration. It is a chronic disease that affects the central part of the retina of the eye, resulting in blurred central vision or a blind spot in the center of one’s visual field.

Macular degeneration does not affect peripheral vision, but the loss of clear central vision can rob a person of the ability to read, drive and recognize people’s faces even without causing total blindness.

Source: reuters

Link Between Smoking and AMD (Age-Related Macular Degeneration)

The link between smoking and AMD (age-related macular degeneration) is now as robust as the link between smoking and lung cancer, yet few people are aware of the link or even of AMD.

AMD is the UK’s leading cause of sight loss – there are around 500,000 people in the UK with AMD – and an estimated 54,000 people have the condition as a result of smoking.

Pauline Edwards, 50, from Salford, has AMD after smoking most of her adult life.

EyesPauline said: “I smoked for years. Now I have AMD, am partially sighted in one eye and am likely to go blind.

When you smoke you cannot imagine what it is like to have lung cancer and especially when you are young the risk of dying earlier doesn’t come into it.

I am a nurse, I saw people die from smoking-related diseases and that did not make me kick the habit. But if I had been told that I could lose my sight because of smoking I would have given up. I stopped the day I found out.”

Steve Winyard, RNIB’s Head of Campaigns and Chairman of AMD Alliance UK, said: “Smoking is the only proven cause of AMD that people can do anything about yet people are not aware of the link and most people have not even heard of the condition.

The message is simple: do not take up smoking and if you do – stop!

People also need to make sure they have regular eye tests to check their eyes are healthy – an eye test can save your sight.”RNIB is calling on the Government to introduce specific warnings on cigarette packets and to fund a major public awareness campaign on the dangers of smoking to your eyesight. RNIB is also joining the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Ophthalmologists in calling for a ban on smoking in all enclosed public places and workplaces across the UK.”

Did you know…

The benefits of quitting smoking are very real.

Studies have shown that people who stopped smoking 20 years ago have a similar risk of developing AMD as non-smokers do and the risk starts to decrease after ten years of not smoking.

Simon Kelly, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at the Bolton Eye Unit and co-author of the report published today, would also like to see warnings on cigarette packets. He said: “Knowledge of the link between smoking and AMD is very low but evidence from Australia and New Zealand shows that raising awareness of this link creates a powerful message for the general public.

A survey amongst patients in Bolton also published today suggests that fear of blindness is as compelling as fear of lung cancer and heart disease as a motivator to quit. In my clinical experience when people are diagnosed with AMD and learn of the link with smoking they are often sufficiently shocked and motivated to want to stop smoking straight away.”

Source RNIB, Royal National Institute of Blind People

Click to learn more about > AMD

Nicotine and the Link Between Smoking and Kidney Disease

Cigarette smoke (CS) is the most preventable cause of death and chronic disease in the United States.

In addition to being a risk factor for atherosclerosis and cancer, recent epidemiologic studies suggest that cigarette smoke promotes the progression of kidney disease.

The mechanisms by which cigarette smoke may accelerate some types of chronic kidney disease are currently unknown.

A new study, being published by the American Physiological Society (http://www.the-aps.org/), demonstrates for the first time that human mesangial cells (MC) – cells in the blood vessels of the kidneys – are endowed with nicotinic receptors (cells that interact with the nicotine in tobacco) and may play an active role in the development of certain kidney diseases

Over The Bridge and Through the Woods

To big tobacco’s house we go?

Quitting smoking involves a major life change and does strange things to the human psyche.

We can convince ourselves of almost anything if we truly grasp onto a belief in our minds.

Thinking that you cannot quit smoking is one such belief that will literally kill you!

As a very young child, I thought that I would never be able to tie my shoes. Mother always tied them for me without taking the time to teach me how.

I vaguely remember sitting in my room practicing how to tie with tears streaming down my cheeks. Having little or no instruction with a new process often makes it difficult to accomplish the process at one sitting.

Green River Timber Crib DamThroughout our lives, we try on new learning experiences.

When we graduate high school, we enter either college or the work force. When we get married, we learn how to work an intimate relationship or how to dump our partner in a divorce. Before we start a business, we learn how to write a business plan.

The process of quitting smoking is a learning experience too! You cannot simply quit smoking after twenty years and not take into consideration that there may be some physical, mental, and emotional discomforts (quit smoking baggage.)

If you anticipate that quitting is a painful process, this idea will ignite a desire to flee (smoke) or stay and fight (remain quit.)

Ideas first spark in the mind. Once an idea ignites, you can toss it in the trunk or become a driver and steer the vehicle. The ideas in your mind can also be like passengers or the driver in a car. You have a driver who is in charge of getting the car and passengers to a destination.

You have passengers who anticipate that the driver and the car will get them to a destination. The passengers are always dependent upon the driver and the vehicle. The driver is always dependent upon the vehicle.

Once you realize that you are the only one who can make the choice to steer your thoughts away from the destination of big tobacco, you will learn to embrace a new sense of freedom and power over crave thoughts. Remember that big tobacco wants you to think that you need their product in order to live life to the fullest.

Have you ever wondered why Philip Morris USA supports a single, consistent public health message on the role of cigarette smoking in the development of disease in smoker’s yet they continue to peddle death and disease?

Cigarette companies spend millions of dollars each year on marketing and research alone. Big tobacco wants lifetime consumers and they know that in order to train a child in the way they should go, that they have to begin this process of subtle advertising by consistently innovating new ways to market their product to our youth.

In the United States, smoking-related illnesses account for more than 440,000 deaths each year. Please do not allow big tobacco to manipulate and control how long you live.

Life in itself is precious. Take back your lives from big tobacco and do it now, before it is too late.

Peripheral Arterial Disease and Smoking

“About 80% of the patients whose legs or extremities I have to amputate are current smokers. If they are not current smokers, then they almost certainly used to smoke.

If patients presenting with PAD have never smoked, I have cause to doubt whether they have the disease at all.” -Mr. Daryll Baker, Consultant vascular surgeon, Royal Free Hospital.

The most common cause of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is atherosclerosis. In atherosclerosis, fatty deposits (plaques) build up in your artery walls and reduce blood flow.

PAD mimics a condition similar to coronary artery disease and carotid artery disease where fatty deposits build up in the inner linings of the artery walls.

These blockages restrict blood circulation, mainly in arteries leading to the kidneys, stomach, arms, legs, and feet.

Book Cover of Peripheral Arterial DiseaseRobert S. Schwartz, MD states: “Atherosclerosis and PAD is pretty much the same thing. Atherosclerosis is the hardening of the arteries.

It’s the plaque that builds up; it’s the calcium, the fats, the fibrous tissue, the scarring that grows into the arteries and stops the blood from flowing into the legs.”

In the UK, about 2.7 million people age 55 or older, have some degree of peripheral arterial disease and almost 8-12 million people in the United States who have this disease are unaware of having this condition.

PAD is often silent for a very long time before you will notice any symptoms. Some Symptoms of PAD may include:

  1. Foot pain that does not go away when you stop exercising
  2. Cold and numb feet or toes
  3. Leg numbness or weakness
  4. A change in the color of your legs
  5. Decreased leg strength, function, and poor balance
  6. Experiencing discomfort within the muscles of the calves or the thighs, or the buttocks may be indicative of claudication (PAD leg pain occurs in the muscles, not the joints)
  7. Hair loss on your feet and legs
  8. Changes in your nails
  9. Foot pain at rest, which indicates that PAD is getting worse
  10. Foot or toe wounds that will not heal or heal very slowly
  11. Erectile dysfunction
  12. Gangrene

*Symptoms of peripheral vascular disease depend on what artery is affected and how severely the blood flow is reduced.

One of the serious sub effects of peripheral vascular disease is Buerger’s disease (thromboangiitis obliterans). It is characterized by a combination of inflammation and clots in the arteries and veins that obstruct blood flow.

Brandon Carmichael is a young man who has suffered this disease to an extreme, having had his left leg amputated below the knee from smoking.

The risk of peripheral vascular disease is dramatically increased in smokers. When a person stops smoking, regardless of how much he or she may have smoked in the past, their risk of peripheral vascular disease rapidly declines.

In a Health Briefing on Silent Epidemic, Peripheral Arterial Disease article Alan T. Hirsch, MD, Chair, P.A.D. Coalition states, “Peripheral arterial disease is the most dangerous disease that most Americans have never heard of”.

The same article continues with the following warning: “People with peripheral arterial disease – P.A.D. – have up to a six-fold increase in cardiovascular death. Without early detection and proper treatment, one in four people with P.A.D. will suffer a heart attack, stroke, amputation or die within the next five years.”

If you add a bad diet and a sedentary lifestyle into this equation, you probably have a prescription to die much younger. How many smokers with Peripheral Arterial Disease have died of a heart attack or stroke where the connection to smoking as a risk factor fell silent?

An absence of a pulse in your legs or arms should immediately alert your health care provider to seek further testing for Peripheral Arterial Disease. eMedicineHealth has an excellent article on Exams and Tests regarding Peripheral Arterial Disease. It is very important that you consult with your health care provider if you believe that you are at risk for this disease.

Are you a smoker? If you are a smoker the most important thing you can do for your health is to educate yourself about smoking-related diseases. If you are an ex-smoker, you also need to stay abreast of learning about smoking-related diseases. Knowledge is power!