EFFECTS OF SMOKING
Nowadays, smoking is getting our first enemy that occupies our clean bodies. It is a very bad habit resulting a long list of diseases, mainly lung cancer and the coronary heart disease.
Starting with the coronary heart disease, statistical studies suggest that smokers are 2-3 times more likely to die from a heart attack than are non-smokers of a similar age. The carbon monoxide, nicotine and other chemicals in cigarette smoke may damage the lining of the arteries, allowing deposits of fatty substances called (atheroma) to form. This happens to everyone and the patches get more numerous and extensive with age.
The surface of a patch of atheroma sometimes becomes rough causing a blood clot called (thrombus) to form. If the blood clot blocks the coronary artery which supplies the muscles of the heart with blood, it starves the muscles of food and the heart may stop beating. This is a severe heart attack. A thrombus might form anywhere in the arterial system, but its effects in the coronary artery and in parts of the brain are the most drastic.
FIGURE 1: Smoking and heart disease.Obviously, as you get older you are more likely to die from a heart attack, but notice that in any age group, the more you smoke, the higher your chances of dying from heart disease.
However, many scientific studies show that the vast increase in lung cancer (4000 per cent in the last century) is almost entirely due to cigarette smoking.
FIGURE 2: Smoking and lung cancer. Cigar and pipe smokers are probably at less risk because they often do not inhale. But notice that their death rate from lung cancer is still twice that of non-smokers.
There are at least 17 substances in TOBACO smoke known to cause cancer in experimental animals, and it is now thought that 90% of lung cancer is caused by smoking.
Moreover, the action of the substances in tobacco smoke weakens the walls of the air sacs (alveoli) inside the lungs. The irritant substances in the smoke cause a smokers cough and the coughing bursts some of the weakened alveoli. In time, the absorbing surface of the lungs is greatly reduced and the blood will contain less oxygen amount. Therefore the smokers become breathless and exhausted. This is called the EMPHYSEMA disease.
Also, the smoke stops the cilia in the air passages from beating and so the irritant substances in the smoke and the excess mucus collect in the bronchi. This leads to the inflammation known as CHRONIC BRONCHITIS.
About 95% of patients with disease of the leg arteries are cigarette smokers and strokes due to arterial disease in the brain are more frequent in smokers. Other diseases such as gum disease, ulcers in the stomach and the duodenum, cancer of the bladder and tooth decay all occur more frequently in smokers.
Pregnant women who smoke are more likely to have babies with low birth weights and they are more likely to be ill than babies of normal weight. But smoking may also make a miscarriage. T
his does not mean that all smokers will develop these diseases. But the chances of their doing so are far higher than they are for non-smokers. BY: Omar Mousa.