Smoking is extremely harmful for your body and brings main triple threats of COPD, lung cancer and pneumonia. Here's what an expert has to say.
We always hear and read about the cautions of no smoking, that it is injurious for our health. It can even lead to airway obstruction and unnecessary blockage that is not good for your health. Besides, an individual smokes on his own terms, knowing about all the diseases associated with it. Moreover, more than 50 per cent of serious illnesses are caused by smoking. Some of these health conditions might be irreversible, while some can be healed with proper treatment and care. In fact, the death rate for any kind of smoker is three times higher than that for non-smokers. However, despite knowing all these facts and data, people are not able to quit on smoking. It is very hard for them to leave this habit. Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Dr. Pavan Yadav, Consultant, Interventional Pulmonology, Aster RV Hospital, about the three main threats of smoking - lung cancer, COPD and pneumonia. Read on to know more about it.
Main health risks of smoking
Smoking cigarettes can have extreme effects on your body. It may have an effect on the respiratory system, skin as well as the reproductive system. From Kung damage to heart problems, smoking can lead to many serious complications too. According to Dr. Pavan, here are the 3 main health risks of smoking:
1. Lung Cancer
Smoking is one of the major risk factors behind lung cancer. Lung cancer risk increases even if you are an occasional smoker. Dr. Pavan said, "Smoking produces more than 4,000 chemicals including carbon dioxide, tars and nicotine and these are capable of transforming normal cells into cancer cells over time. The cancer risk is directly proportional to the number of cigarettes one smokes every day. People who quit smoking have a lower risk of developing lung cancer, and this risk gradually decreases over time." Therefore, it is advised that you should not indulge more in the habit thinking that it is already too late. Stopping yourself at any point can be helpful in treating the cause. Many people believe that smoking can only cause mouth cancer, but that is not true. It can result in other types of dangerous cancers in the body. Here are the signs of lung cancer that indicate an advanced stage:
- Bone pain
- Shortness of breath
- Weight loss
- Coughing up blood
2. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
So, when we smoke, the airways, air sacs and the lining of the lungs get damaged. This happens mostly when lung is exposed to irritants and leads to COPD, but is a common risk factor of smoking. The airway is not able to stretch and shrink in such cases and even the air sacs get damaged. In the early stages, you might not notice any symptoms but they can get advanced with time. The signs are:
- Breathing difficulty
- Tightness in the breath
- Persistent coughing
Pneumonia is the third major threat of smoking. When we smoke, the body's defense system might get weak. Its natural ability to fight bacteria and viruses loses. And, when the immunity system gets compromised, then you are an easy target for all the infections. The action of the cilia or hair-like projections in the trachea to sweep fluids out of the airways gets disturbed, resulting in pneumonia. The main symptoms of pneumonia are:
- Coughing up mucus
- Chest pain
How to treat and prevent these threats?
Dr. Pavan said, "Catching the above three diseases in its early stage often allows for a higher likelihood of successful treatment. This is also when the treatment is easy and the body’s response to it will be more favorable. Pneumonia, COPD and lung cancer are closely related and have similar symptoms. The common culprit of smoking can worsen the symptoms and the impact of these diseases on the body. The lungs, which is the primary organ in the respiratory system bears the brunt of the attack of such diseases." COPD is also a major risk factor for lung cancer. This is the reason why the prevention of both health conditions starts from quitting smoking. If these diseases are not prevented in the initial stages, then it can lead to more complications and health problems. You should know the signs when your body is trying to indicate to out a permanent barrier on smoking. Smoking is also interconnected to many other diseases too, so quitting is the best way to save your body.
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