In the USA, the use of tobacco is the most important preventive cause of death. Close to one half million American citizens die prematurely every year as a consequence of smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke, according to the trusted Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC).
Smoking also has a detrimental effect upon your brain as well as increased risk of cardiac illness, stroke , cancer, lung diseases and many other illnesses. In this article we will examine in greater detail the effects and benefits of smoking on your brain.
The nicotine in your smoke is quickly absorbed to the blood and starts affecting your brain within 10 seconds when someone inhales cigarette smoke. Nicotine once there triggers a number of chemical reactions, creating temporary sensations of fun and concentration. However, these sensations are short-lived and subsidize in minutes.
These chemical reactions include catecholamine release like adrenaline, the hormone of fighting or flight. Physically, the heart and blood pressure increase by adrenaline. Smokers can experience quick, faint breathing and a racing heartbeat when this occurs. The body also receives adrenaline to dump excess glucose into the bloodstream. Nicotine also reduces appetite and can help in complex ways to lose weight.
Nicotine is not more harmful than a daily dose of caffeine, many researchers are beginning to doubt. To date, studies have shown positive results of nicotine including lower tension and increased thought, and also the potential of the stimulant to stop cognitive decay in Alzheimer's disease, to delay Parkinson 's progression, and to use the treatment approach to ADHD and schizophrenia.
However, health professionals continue to warn of the dangers of nicotine, especially when used by adolescents whose brains are still developing (up to 25 years of age). While cigarette smoking is on the decline, steaming and e-cigarettes are on the rise. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns that "e-cigarettes are threatening to add nicotine to the new generation" and recommends raising the minimum age for e-cigarettes to 21 nationally.
Cognitive decline usually occurs naturally as you get older. You may become more forgetful, or you may not be able to think as quickly as you did when you were younger. But if you smoke, you may experience a faster cognitive decline than non-smokers.
This is even more serious for men, according to the 2012 studyTrusted Source, which looked at cognitive data from more than 7,000 men and women over a 12-year period. Researchers found that middle-aged male smokers experienced a faster cognitive decline than non-smokers or female smokers.
According to the 2017 studyTrusted Source, the longer you smoke, the higher your risk of higher age-related brain volume loss. Researchers have found that smoking negatively affects the structural integrity of subcortical brain regions. They also found that smokers, compared to non-smokers, had higher levels of age-related brain volume loss in several areas of the brain.
Smokers are more likely to have a stroke than non-smokers. According to the CDCTrusted Source, smoking increases the risk of strokes by two to four times in both men and women. This risk increases if you smoke a larger number of cigarettes.
Smoking introduces many toxic chemicals into the brain and body, some of which are capable of causing cancer. Dr. Harshal Kirane, Medical Director of Wellbridge Addiction Treatment and Research, explained that with repeated exposure to tobacco, gene changes in the lungs, throat, or brain may increase your risk of developing cancer.
Smokers also have an increased risk of dementia, a condition that can affect memory , thinking skills, language skills, judgment, and behavior. It may also cause changes in personality. A 2015 research review Trusted Source looked at 37 studies comparing smokers and non-smokers and found that smokers were 30 % more likely to develop dementia. The review also found that quitting smoking reduces the risk of dementia for non-smokers.
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