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Unveiling the Menacing Health Risks of Smoking

Smoking damages nearly every organ of your body. Tar and phenols clog the airways, carbon monoxide robs your heart of oxygen and smoke contains carcinogens that cause lung cancer.

Smoking also increases your risk of rheumatoid arthritis and weakens your immune system. You can reverse most of the damage caused by smoking by stopping.

1. Lung Cancer

Smoking harms almost every organ of the body and causes multiple types of cancer. It also increases the risk of a heart attack. It may also cause diabetes and its complications, rheumatoid arthritis, and weakens the immune system. It can make breathing difficult and cause coughing or wheezing. It increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SUDS) in babies and may cause cleft lip or cleft palate in children born to mothers who smoke during early pregnancy.

Smoking can increase the risk of a blood clot in a deep vein (DVT) or in the lungs (pulmonary embolism). It can also raise the level of calcium in your blood (hypercalcemia), which can lead to nausea, vomiting, and excessive thirst.

2. Heart Disease

Smoking damages the blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to every organ in the body, including the heart. This damage is caused by the chemicals and tar in cigarettes. The damage to the arteries increases the risk of atherosclerosis, a build-up of plaque that narrows the artery and restricts blood flow.

It also increases the risk of peripheral artery disease, which causes reduced blood circulation to the arms and legs, leading to pain, gangrene, or death. Smoking also increases the risk of stroke and heart failure.

Smokers have a much greater risk of cardiovascular disease than nonsmokers, especially in middle age. This includes a health risks of smoking of having and dying from a heart attack, coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and other heart-related problems.

3. Stroke

Cigarette smoke makes the blood more likely to clot and narrows arteries, both of which contribute to stroke. Smokers have a two to four-fold higher risk of having a stroke than nonsmokers. Smoking also increases the risk of having a hemorrhagic stroke, which occurs when an artery in the brain bursts.

Most strokes are ischemic, which means that they happen when a clot blocks blood vessels carrying oxygen to the brain. But smoking also raises your risk of having a hemorrhagicstroke, which occurs when an aneurysm (a bulge in the wall of an artery) ruptures.

4. Kidney Disease

Smoking causes the arteries that carry blood to your kidneys to narrow, restricting blood flow. This makes your kidneys work harder, causing them to develop problems faster.

A study found that current and ex-smokers have a higher risk of developing end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) than never-smokers. This risk was independent of age, sex, BMI, cigarette use history, hypertension and diabetes mellitus.

The nicotine in cigarette smoke reduces your kidney’s ability to filter waste products from the blood. This contributes to the development of kidney damage, including foamy urine.

5. Cancer of the Mouth

Cigarettes and smokeless tobacco (like snuff or chewing tobacco) contain cancer-causing chemicals that harm the cells of your mouth. The poisons damage the DNA in your cells, which is like an instruction manual for a cell’s normal growth and function. This can cause a cell to grow out of control and become a tumor.

Smoking increases the risk of cancer of the lips, tongue, throat, lungs and kidneys. It also increases the rate of gum disease and the risk for developing diabetes, as well as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis and heart disease.

6. Cancer of the Bladder

The carcinogens in cigarette smoke irritate the lining of the bladder, leading to cancer. Smokers are four times more likely to develop bladder cancer than nonsmokers.

Studies have shown that the risk of low-grade superficial, high-grade superficial and muscle invasive tumors increases with the number of cigarettes smoked per day and the length of smoking history. Moreover, women smokers have higher risk than men.

In addition, smoking is associated with a heightened risk of nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer recurrence. The recurrence risk is related to the urinary cotinine level (a biomarker for tobacco smoke exposure). Patients with the highest cotinine levels have the greatest increase in nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer recurrence.

7. Cancer of the Testes

Men who smoke have a higher risk of developing cancer of the testicles. Smoking also lowers sperm production and can cause women to enter menopause earlier than nonsmokers.

Maternal smoking has been linked to the development of testicular cancer in offspring, but a satisfactory explanation of this phenomenon remains elusive. Ascertainment of maternal smoking during pregnancy has generally been problematic and prone to information bias, and most case-control studies have exhibited inconsistent results.

Ecological studies have shown strong geographical and temporal correlations between smoking prevalence in women at fertile ages and testicular cancer incidence in presumed offspring birth cohorts. This correlation is consistent with the Clemmesen hypothesis.