Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death, causing over 400,000 deaths each year in the United States.
Are you currently a smoker? Maybe you’re just interested in getting those you love to break the addiction. Whatever the case, there are several harmful side effects associated with smoking cigarettes – some of which you may not even be aware.
- Most people know that cigarette smoking increases the risk for lung cancer, but it also increases the risk of many other cancers including: mesothelioma, colon, head & neck, esophagus, kidney, liver, bladder, pancreas, stomach, and cervix.
- Cigarette smoking has several adverse effects on the cardiovascular system, including causing blood vessels to constrict, making blood clot more easily, and adversely affecting cholesterol levels. Smoking is responsible for 33% of cardiovascular deaths (including heart attacks and stokes) in the United States.
- Smoking is overwhelmingly the biggest risk factor for COPD, also known as emphysema or chronic bronchitis. Alveoli (microscopic air sacs within the lungs) are destroyed over time by smoking. These sacs facilitate the exchange of oxygen and cannot be regenerated. This leads to shortness of breath, lower levels of blood oxygen, and higher levels of carbon dioxide.
- Smoking increases the risk of several infections. This includes common infections like colds, the flu, and pneumonia as well as less common diseases like tuberculosis and Legionnaire’s disease.
- Smoking increases this risk of developing diabetes.
- Smoking accelerates the rate of bone loss and in turn increases the risk of hip fracture.
- Other adverse effects of smoking include: damage to the skin and the appearance of premature aging, increased gum and periodontal disease, increased risk of ulcers, and direct damage to your DNA.
The benefits of quitting smoking begin just 20 minutes after you put out that final cigarette. Don’t believe us? Check out this timeline from the American Cancer Society!
Want to find out how your current health measures up? Contact Advanced Internal Medicine to arrange an appointment with us now. Your health simply cannot wait!