Smoking- Root Cause Behind Many Illnesses

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Health reasons are often the number one reason people give for wanting to quit smoking ? and it is certainly the best reason. In fact, smoking causes a wide variety of illnesses to basically every part of the body. In addition, there are nearly 440,000 cigarette related deaths in the United States every year ? more than car accidents, alcohol, AIDS, suicide, illegal drugs, and homicide combined.

A) Respiratory diseases-
Smoking actually causes many different types of lunch diseases, such as lung cancer, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are often also experienced together and thus grouped under the term chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. This disease is often diagnosed in both current and former smokers in their 60?s or 70?s. COPD, which is a chronic illness, eventually results in death for anyone who suffers from it.

Separately, chronic bronchitis and emphysema are serious diseases, as well. Chronic bronchitis is a disease that causes the airways to produce excess mucus. This is what forces a smoker to cough more often. Emphysema, on the other hand, slowly makes it impossible for the smoker to breath. This is because oxygen must move across the lungs in order to reach the blood. Tiny sacs within the lungs are responsible for making this happen. With emphysema, these sacs break down and make it more difficult for oxygen to reach the blood. Ultimately, the person with emphysema is unable to breathe and needs to breath with the assistance of oxygen.

More than 7 million smokers and former smokers have been diagnosed with COPD. Those suffering from the disease have a miserable deterioration. In the final stages, patients feel as if they are continuously gasping for breath, as if they were drowning.

B) Circulatory diseases-
Smoking takes its toll on the heart. In facts, smokers are two times as likely to die from a heart attack as nonsmokers. Frighteningly, smokers are also more likely to die within an hour after having a heart attack than a person who does not smoke. In addition, smoking leads to peripheral vascular disease, which is the narrowing of the blood vessels responsible for carrying blood to the leg and arm muscles. Smoking is also a risk factor for heart disease, which is the number one cause of both men and women in the United States.

Women who use oral contraceptives are at particular risk for circulatory diseases. In fact, those who use oral contraceptives that are over 35 are in the high risk group for heart attack and blood clots in the legs.

C) Cancer-
Smoking is accountable for at least 30% of deaths related to cancer. The most common forms of cancer associated with smoking are cancers of the larynx (voice box), lungs, pharynx (throat), oral cavity, and esophagus. In addition, smoking has been linked to the development of cancer in the pancreas, bladder, uterine cervix, liver, stomach, kidney, rectum, and colon. It has also been connected to some forms of leukemia. Cancer is responsible for about half of cigarette related deaths.

D) Stroke-
Smoking is a risk factor for stroke, which often results in mild or severe disabilities, or even death. In fact, 11% of deaths caused by stroke are from smoking cigarettes. Those who quit smoking reduce their risk of strength significantly. After 5 years of smoking cessation, the risks are the same as those of a nonsmoker. Women who take oral contraceptives and smoke are at a particular high risk of having a stroke. A study at Bringham and Women?s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston also found that male smokers who smoke less than 20 cigarettes per day are 1.7 times more likely to have a stroke than a nonsmoker. Those who have more than 20 cigarettes a day are 2.4 times more likely.

E) Skin damage-
Smoking also causes damage to the skin, which is more serious than just the way it looks. In fact, smoking constricts blood vessels, which cuts off the blood supply to the top layer of the skim. Researchers believe smoking also damages genetic material in skin cells and accelerates the aging process. In addition, it causes skin to thin ? perhaps by as much as 40% - and to become less porous.

F) Miscarriage and pregnancy complications-
Research has shown that women who smoke are more likely to have a low birth weight baby and to have a miscarriage than women who don?t smoke. Women who smoke are also more likely to have a premature delivery, or to have a stillbirth baby.

G) Sexual function-
Because cigarette smoking results in a decrease in blood flow, another side effect of smoking is impotence in men. With the blood unable to properly flow to the penis, it is difficult to get it erect and to maintain an erection.

All in all, people who smoke cut years from their lifespan because of the resulting diseases. In fact, the US Centers for Disease Control has stated male smokers lose an average of 13.2 years and female smokers lose an average of 14.5.