Tag Archives: smoking related illnesses

Tobacco & the Rheumatoid Factor

The journal Arthritis and Rheumatism puts in evidence that tobacco might cause a genetic reaction which conducts to serious forms of arthritis rheumatoid.

This type of arthritis can be quite painful and often greatly impedes one’s flexibility.

There is a lot of research being done to help ease the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, but one sure way is to stop smoking and begin a detoxification program now.

A case is built that tobacco increases the production of the so-called rheumatoid factor.

(RF) and decreases the levels of the GSTM1 gene.

This is important to note because body detoxification is your body’s immune response clearing out foreign substances from your body’s system.

rh.jpgThe GSTM1 is a gene which is important in the detoxification process of the carcinogen agents presented in tobacco.

COPD & Facial Wrinkling Study

The presence, and perhaps the severity, of COPD might be predictable by examining the facial skin, and accelerated wrinkling could signal the need for studies of lung function.

Smoking is associated with other health-related problems, and future studies might attempt to correlate skin findings with cardiovascular disease in smokers.

Laboratory elucidation of the specific mechanism behind increased susceptibility would be useful and interesting.

Picture of Wrinkled Face from SmokingIf a genetic predisposition is identified, susceptible families and individuals might receive more urgent counsel to avoid smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.

Learn more about > COPD.

— Jeffrey P. Callen, MD

The Truth About Smoking Cigars Whether You Inhale or Not

According to the American Cancer Society, studies show that cigars are just as bad for you as cigarettes.

Researchers found that cancer risks increased dramatically for those who smoke three cigars daily, and even more for those who inhale when they light up.

The study also shows that cigars themselves are changing. “PH levels of cigars are indeed changing,” says Eric Jacobs, study author and researcher for the Cancer Society’s department of epidemiology and surveillance research. “While the pH of cigars has always been higher than cigarettes, pH varies greatly between cigar types. Higher pH levels mean the smoke may contain more free ammonia, and while it’s more difficult to inhale, the nicotine absorption rate is substantially higher.”

What Are the Risks of Smoking Cigars?

  • A 500 percent increase in lung cancer for inhalers and a 300 percent increase for non-inhaling cigar smokers.
  • A 1,000 percent increase in cancer of the larynx.
  • A 400 percent increase in cancer of the oral cavity/pharynx.
  • A 270 percent increase in pancreatic cancer for inhalers.
  • A 360 percent increase in bladder cancer for inhalers.

Smoking a Cigar“The take home message from all this is that cigar smoking is much more lethal than we ever believed,” Jacobs said. “Whether you light up or not, whether you inhale or not, cigars carry the same risks that cigarettes do.” He adds, “Cigar smoking is not cool or glamorous. It can kill you.”

And the secondhand smoke is just as dangerous.

Click to learn more about > American Cancer Society.

Young Victim of Smoking Leaves Legacy for the Youth

We opened up with a joke on his first name.

With a gentle smile, Erphacksand Kinyua Mureithi explained that the name was handed down to him from his paternal grandfather, although it is biblical.

The challenge of doing this story from an interview that Kinyua gave a month before he died, is that it has to be in the past tense.

Kinyua was one of the youngest lung cancer cases recorded at the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi.

Had he lived past July 23, he would have turned 30 in August.

Image of Lung CancerWhen Kinyua showed up for this interview, he was a brave young man who agreed to share with the world his experiences with lung cancer.

At the end of the interview, there was no mistaking the passion that he had for the legacy he wished to leave behind.

Leaders of Tomorrow

“If I had a forum, I would tell the youth that every decision they make in life will determine how they end up. I may not have been a smoker for a long time, but who knows, the disease might have caught up with me because of the few years I smoked. There is so much to live for because we are the leaders of tomorrow.”

Kinyua’s story is a point to ponder in light of the consequences of smoking.

The slim, soft-spoken man, seemingly humbled by an experience that came too early in his life, walked with a slight stoop.

However, he declared cheerfully to me that he had been feeling much better since he started treatment.

“It was bad. I could barely walk. I had to bend over because of the pain in my chest. Now I feel as if my lungs are all cleared up and I do not have to struggle to breath,” he said.

He was initially evasive about how he might have contracted lung cancer.

“I know I used to smoke, those years when I was young, playing truant and sneaking out of school for a puff or two. I never thought it was dangerous. Later I became an established smoker, not a chain-smoker. Just a casual smoker of about three or four cigarettes a day,” he said.

Bad Habit

“You never think about it, you just go ahead and smoke, not because you cannot live with the craving. It is just a bad habit that you develop, which becomes very difficult to shake off.”

About a year ago, in October, Kinyua who was then working as a casual labourer in Industrial Area started developing muscle pains on his right arm and back. He explained how the pain would attack him: “The pains could centre on the hands and slightly towards the right side of my chest. With time, they became almost un-bearable and the painkillers did not seem to work.

For almost six months, I was in and out of hospital getting a painkiller after another but with no satisfactory results.

Finally, a doctor that I had been seeing regularly recommended a CT scan to determine what exactly was ailing me. This is when a small growth in the chest was discovered.” Kinyua talked about the strenuous treatment that cancer patients go through.

“Were it not for my strong Christian background and the way the doctors prepared me for the hard news, I don’t think I would have made it. Also. As I later learnt, the tumours had been discovered fairly early and intercepted so I stood a better chance for recovery,” he had said gratefully and with a lot of hope.

His treatment included an operation on the chest to remove the malignant tumour.

Unfortunately the cancer had metastasised, meaning it had started spreading to other parts of Kinyua’s body.

After the operation, he stayed in hospital for one week before starting radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment to ensure that all cancer cells were destroyed.

Radiotherapy took six weeks, with two minute-sessions every day.

Even though radiotherapy has side effects such as nausea and weakness of the body, Kinyua said his worst experience was the chemotherapy treatment.

This involved, a dosage of a combination of six drugs within a certain period of time.

t meant being in hospital for about four to six hours while drugs are administered. ” Chemo is the worst. Excessive vomiting follows the initial treatments and nausea and severe lack of appetite, which can render you extremely weak. A while after every chemo session, you have to go in for yet another CT scan to detect how much of the cancer cells have been destroyed and how much more are yet to be dealt with. It is an exhaustive and tiring encounter,” Kinyua had sighed as he explained.

Also straining was the financial cost of the treatment.

Were it not for his supportive superiors Leonard Sebastian and James Mugambi and employer Laborex Kenya, Kinyua said that he might not have been able to pay the bills.

He was also grateful to his colleague Ann Kinyanjui who picked and dropped him at hospital throughout.

For his wife Helen Njeri, 26, with whom he had a three-year old daughter, Beatrice, Kinyua had only glowing tributes.

“After I had been so sick and I thought I was going to die, it is my wife and daughter who gave me the energy to want to live. It is not easy taking care of a sick person. I thank God for my family”.

Yesterday when notifying Helen about the intention to eulogise Kinyua in this special report, the young widow was overjoyed but saddened too.

“I wish he was here to read it. It is harder now that he is no more. I am alone with my child, it is difficult to even fathom how life is going to be without Kinyua,” she said.

Although Kinyua is honoured in this story posthumously, he becomes the face of a generation that faces challenges but is still determined to rise above debilitating afflictions. May he rest in peace.

Source: Mildred Ngesa, The Reporter,  Original Publication –The Nation (Nairobi)

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Effects of Smoking on Circulation Can Lead to Amputations

Smoking effects our health in so many ways.

Just how does smoking addiction hurt you?

Narrowed and hardened arteries leading to atherosclerosis and gangrene, cold hands and feet, cold skin, decreased fitness, weakened bones,osteoporosis, peripheral vascular disease to name a few.

Smoking damages the blood vessels in the legs and arms leading to restricted circulation, ulcers, gangrene and even amputation of the limbs.

Circulation Restricted From SmokingOver 90% of cases of peripheral vascular disease which lead to amputation of one or both legs are caused by nicotine addiction and smoking – about 2000 amputations a year in the UK.

Source: Nosmokingday.org (UK)

Women Smokers Grow More Facial Hair

The effects of smoking can show up in ways you may not expect.

Although the mustache on the women in this picture is obviously fake, what we are about to tell you isn’t.

The Medical College of Wisconsin has reported a link between smoking and increased facial hair in some women.

Girl with Fake Moustache Women who smoke at least one pack of cigarettes a day have a fifty percent greater chance of growing more facial hair.

This study at the Medical College of Wisconsin has found increased facial hair in women apparently has something to do with the effects of smoking on the ovaries and the production of hormones.

So if you are a women smoker and find you are growing more facial hair as you age you could be adversely effecting your hormonal balance due to the risks of ingesting the chemicals in cigarettes.

Passive Smoking Happens to Pets Too

Fluffy, Fido, and Tweety all suffer from the secondhand smoke of their owners, according to a growing body of literature that has looked at the issue, said Carolynn MacAllister, a veterinarian with the Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension Service.

Cats are twice as likely to develop malignant melanoma if they live with smokers as with nonsmokers.

This form of cancer kills three out of four felines within a year of its onset. Cats also are more likely to develop mouth cancers.

MacAllister said that cats’ grooming habits contribute to their risk. “Cats constantly lick themselves while grooming, they lick up the cancer-causing carcinogens that accumulate on their fur” and deposit relatively high concentrations of those chemicals into their mouths.

Dog with Face MaskLong nosed dogs suffer higher rates of nasal cancers as the carcinogens accumulate along those mucus membrane passageways. They seldom survive more than a year. In contrast, short nosed dogs do not filter the carcinogens as effectively, as a result, more of those deadly chemicals reach their lungs and they are more likely to develop lung cancer.

And feathered pets are not immune either. “A bird’s respiratory system is hypersensitive to any type of pollutant in the air,” MacAllister said. Living with a smoker makes birds particularly vulnerable to pneumonia and lung cancer. That is particularly true because caged birds cannot engage in vigorous flying that helps to clear the lungs of toxins.

“Curious pets can eat cigarettes and other tobacco products if they aren’t stored properly.” MacAllister warned. “This can cause nicotine poisoning, which can be fatal.”

Smokers themselves are 50 percent more likely to develop dementia than nonsmokers, according to a recent study of 7,000 people 55 or older that was conducted over seven years in the Netherlands.

“Smoking increases the risk of cerebrovascular disease and oxidative stress, which can damage cells in the blood vessels and lead to hardening of the arteries,” said lead researcher Dr. Monique Breteler of the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam.

Erectile dysfunction is a more immediate risk from smoking. A four-year study of 7,684 men in China, ages 35-74, found a statistical link between the number of cigarettes smoked and ED. It estimated that almost a quarter of all ED could be attributed to cigarettes.

And the habit is expensive, even before figuring in the added cost of Viagra. A study from New York City estimates that the average pack-a-day smoker burns up $2,500 a year with their habit.

It showed that low-income persons are more likely to try to quit smoking than those with a high income (68 versus 60 percent), but they are less likely to succeed in doing so.

Many private health plans and local health departments have developed programs to help people quite smoking. They often include free or reduced rates for counseling sessions and interventions such as nicotine gum or the patch.

For information about programs in San Francisco, visit the Tobacco Free Project’s Web site at http://sftfc.globalink.org/. For information statewide, call 1-800-NO-BUTTS. ~

Click to learn more about > Melanoma

~Bob Roehr, The Bay Area Reporter

Smoking Increases Risks for Head and Neck Cancers for Men And Women

Smoking significantly increases the risk for head and neck cancers for both men and women, regardless of the anatomic site.

Published in the journal Cancer, a large, prospective study confirmed strong associations between current and past cigarette smoking and malignancies of the head and neck in both genders.

Cancers of the head and neck include cancers of the larynx, nasal passages/nose, oral cavity, and pharynx.

Worldwide, more than 500,000 people are diagnosed with these cancers every year. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), men are more than three times more likely than women to be diagnosed with head and neck cancer and almost twice as likely to die from their disease.

Neck ImageWhile tobacco use has long been identified as an important risk factor for head and neck cancers, the new study finds that smoking plays a greater role in the development of head and neck cancer in women than men.

Dr. Neal Freedman from the NCI and co-investigators analyzed data from 476,211 men and women prospectively followed from 1995 to 2000 to assess gender differences in risk for cancer in specific head and neck sites.

Analysis showed that the risk of smoking leading to any type of head and neck cancer was significantly greater in women than in men. While 45 percent of these cancers could be attributed to smoking in men, 75 percent could be attributed to smoking in women.

“Incidence rates of head and neck cancer were higher in men than in women in all categories examined,” conclude the authors, “but smoking was associated with a larger relative increase in head and neck cancer risk in women than in men.” To reduce the burden of head and neck cancer, public health efforts should continue to aim at eliminating smoking in both women and men.

Article: “Prospective Investigation of the Cigarette Smoking-Head and Neck Cancer Association by Sex,” Neal D. Freedman, Christian C. Abnet, Michael F. Leitzmann, Albert R. Hollenbeck, Arthur Schatzkin, CANCER; Published Online: August 27, 2007, 2007 (DOI: 10.1002/cncr.22957); Print Issue Date: October 1, 2007.

Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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