Smoking - Dangerous for your Heart
Brooke Shields (American actress)
Cigarette smoking is the number one preventable cause of premature deaths in the United States. In the year 2000, it is estimated that 8.6 million Americans had 12.7 million medical conditions that were caused by cigarette smoking. For current smokers, the most prevalent were chronic bronchitis (49%), followed by emphysema (24%). For former smokers, the three most prevalent conditions were chronic bronchitis (26%), emphysema (24%), and previous heart attack (24%). Lung cancer accounted for 1% of all cigarette smoking-attributable illnesses Each year in the United States, approximately 440,000 persons die of a cigarette smoking-attributable illness. This results in 5.6 million years of potential life lost, $75 billion in direct medical costs, and $82 billion in lost productivity.. Smoking is responsible for 30% of all coronary heart disease deaths. Smoking however remains very prevalent, with almost 21 million men and 18 million women continue to smoke. The sad part is that a significant percentage of children continue to take up smoking each year.
"I smoke ten to fifteen cigars a day. At my age I have to hold on to something." George F. Burns (American comedian 1896-1996). Geoge Burns may have been genetically blessed or just plain lucky. Most people who smoke will see the risk of dying from heart disease go up by almost three times. The risk of stroke will double. Smoking increases blood pressure, accelerates the progression of arteriosclerosis, decreases the good HDL cholesterol, and increases the tendency for the blood to clot. Even after heart bypass surgery, continuing smoking increases the risk of recurrent cardiovascular events. Smokers also suffer from more peripheral arterial disease and aneurysms. Women who smoke and use oral contraceptives increase their risk of heart attack ten fold and increase their risk of strokes and blood clots in the legs
Second hand or passive smoke is also associated with health risks in both children and adults. This environmental tobacco smoke contains a complex mixture of over 4000 chemicals, many toxic and about 40 proven to cause cancer in humans. The EPA estimates that environmental tobaccos smoke causes approximately 3,000 lung cancer and about 37,000 coronary heart disease deaths in nonsmokers each year. Children, exposed to secondhand smoke before and after birth, are at a greater risk of developing high blood pressure, cleft pallets and lips, childhood leukemia, attention deficit disorder and childhood wheezing. Besides Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), second hand smoke is also associated with an increase in acute lower respiratory tract infections, asthma, chronic respiratory symptoms and middle ear infections in children. Adults experience an increased risk of lung cancer, nasal sinus cancer, heart disease mortality, acute and chronic coronary heart disease morbidity and eye and nasal irritation, when exposed to second hand smoke. It also greatly increases the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, both in children and adults. No wonder Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels noted, "Every citizen who stops smoking, or loses a few pounds, or starts managing his chronic disease with real diligence, is caulking a crack for the benefit of us all. "
"Smoking is related to practically every terrible thing that can happen to you. " Actress Loni Anderson. Smoking does not just damage the cardiovascular system. It can make men infertile and reduce their potency. It causes chronic lung disease like bronchitis and emphysema, and also the irritating chronic cough and increased phlegm production. It increases susceptibility to the flu and increases wrinkling. It has been linked to hearing loss, cataracts, rheumatoid arthritis and many cancers. Pregnant women who smoke face the danger of spontaneous abortion, still birth and sudden infant death syndrome after childbirth.
If you stop smoking, the benefits start almost immediately. The body begins to repair itself almost immediately. Several clinical studies have shown the cessation of smoking results in a substantial decrease in recurrent heart attacks, sudden cardiac death, total coronary heart disease mortality, and ischemic stroke. People who quit smoking cut their risk of abdominal aortic aneurysm in half. Within a few days or weeks, exercise endurance and cardiovascular capacity improve, and the good high density lipoprotein cholesterol increases. Within a year, the risk for most cardiovascular diseases will be cut in half. Within 5 to 15 years after stopping smoking, the risk of having a stroke decreases to the same level as that of someone who never smoked. After 15 smoke free years, the cardiovascular system will be as healthy as of somebody who had never smoked. And the incidence of all smoking related cancers--of the mouth, larynx, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas--decreases.
"The best way to stop smoking is to just stop - no ifs, ands or butts. "Groucho Marx (American Comedian, Actor and Singer, 1890-1977). Once you are ready to quit smoking, set a quit date. Inform and gather support from friends and relatives. Change your environment that encourages you to smoke. Get rid of all cigarettes and ashtrays in your home, car, and place of work. Do not let people smoke around you or in your home. Learn new skills and behavior and distract yourself from the urge to smoke. Drink lots of water and other fluids. You may also want to join a smoking support group. If you feel like the actress Loni Anderson, who unfortunately experienced, "Once you are hooked, smoking is harder to quit then heroin, " then you may want to seek professional help. There are several prescription and non-prescription medicines available. Nicotine replacement therapy is available as nicotine patch, gum, nasal spray or inhaler. Non-nicotine therapy includes prescription drugs Zyban and Chantix. Four out of five people who quit smoking may gain an average of about five pounds in weight. The good news is that this usually goes away within a few weeks or months after quitting.
Smokeless tobacco should not be used as an alternative to cigarettes. It is highly addictive and often more difficult to give up. This is because of its high nicotine content. Using smokeless tobacco also increases the risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and stroke.
So quit today. You will not only look younger but smell better. You will also live a better and longer life. And save a lot of money. It has also been said that cancer cures smoking. Perhaps I can add that premature death will definitely cure your smoking. So do not be like Mark Twain (American Humorist, Writer and Lecturer. 1835-1910) "It's easy to quit smoking. I've done it hundreds of times." Quit once and quit forever.
Related Tags: heart disease, smoking
Dr. Shashi K. Agarwal is a Board Certified Internist and Cardiologist with a private practice in New York City and New Jersey. He is also a Diplomate of the American Board of Holistic Medicine and the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine.Your Article Search Directory : Find in Articles
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