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Doctor’s advice: adverse health effects from smoking

Humans have been smoking for thousands of years, but it was not until the 1920s that scientists in Germany found a link between smoking and lung cancer. In the following decades, evidence that smoking causes health problems became overwhelming. The percentage of people in developed countries who smoke has decreased since the 1960s, but the percentage is increasing in developing countries.

Unfortunately, 15 percent of Americans still smoke (about 36.5 million) and smoking is the most common cause of preventable death. Tobacco smoke contains more than 5,000 identified chemicals, so it is not surprising that it has many adverse health effects.

The most common cause of death in the US UU It's cardiovascular disease: heart attacks and strokes. Our arteries are lined by a delicate organ called the endothelium. Smoking inflames the endothelium and causes it to thicken and eventually form plaque (hardening of the arteries). When the plaque becomes inflamed, one of the causes is smoking, it can break and cause a heart attack or stroke. Smoking can also affect the arteries in other parts of the body, causing conditions such as peripheral vascular disease (obstructions in the arteries of the legs) and E.D.

Cigarette smoke contains innumerable carcinogens. Nine out of 10 deaths from lung cancer in the US UU They are attributable to smoking, and lung cancer now causes more deaths in women than breast cancer. Smokers also have a higher risk of getting many other cancers: bladder; blood (leukemia); cervix; colon and rectal; kidney; voice box; liver; mouth, throat and tongue; pancreas; and stomach If everyone in the United States stopped smoking, 1 in 3 cancer deaths would be avoided.

Smoking also damages and destroys the delicate alveoli of the lungs, known as alveoli, which produces emphysema, which leads to the constant need for supplemental oxygen and slow death. Smoking causes premature aging that affects all of our organs, including the skin (premature wrinkles). Increases the risk of cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. It also damages immune function and contributes to infertility. In pregnant women, it contributes to premature births, low birth weight and cleft lip and palate. It is one of the causes of sudden infant death syndrome.

Smoking is not only bad for people who smoke, but also for the people around them. If you were raised in a household with people who smoked, your risk is increased by several of the above conditions.

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Smoking increases the levels of dopamine and endorphins, which makes it very addictive. It is certainly best not to start smoking in the first place, but if you smoke, it is possible to quit and many people do. Certain recipe like the help of bupropion. And there are useful sites on the internet like Quit Colorado. Smokeless tobacco (chewing tobacco) has many of the same adverse health effects as cigarettes, and electronic cigarettes have their own set of problems.

There are many similarities between the Big Tobacco fight years ago and the current fight against Big Food, such as:

As the science that linked tobacco and disease became more overwhelming, tobacco companies tried to deny the evidence and sowed doubts about science. Currently, food companies use the same tactics.

Tobacco companies devised useless tricks like filters and cigarettes with low tar content and even organic tobacco. Currently food companies are inventing tricks like "Fruit Loops now contains fiber" and "organic cane sugar".

For years, doctors did not understand that smoking was bad (remember the ad "Most doctors smoke Camels"?), But they finally got it, and practically no doctor smokes these days. Currently, most doctors do not receive unhealthy foods and their connection to the disease, but hopefully they eventually will.

Dr. Feinsinger, who retired from Glenwood Medical Associates after 42 years as a family doctor, has a nonprofit Center for the prevention and treatment of diseases through nutrition. He is available for free consultations on the prevention of heart attacks and any other medical concerns. Call 970-379-5718 to schedule an appointment. For questions about your columns, send an email to gfeinsinger@comcast.net.

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