10 Terrible Things Smoking Does to Your Body
#10: It Causes Cataracts
Smoking damages many areas of the body, including (perhaps surprisingly) the eyes. Research has shown that smokers have double the risk of developing cataracts, the clouding of the eyes’ lens that results in significantly reduced vision, a sensitivity to light, and muted colors. Doctors explain that smoking alters the cells of the lens and causes a significant build-up of cadmium, both of which may result in cataracts. While it’s estimated that half of all Americans may develop cataracts by the time they reach 80, smoking significantly raises the chances.
#9: It Weakens the Immune System
Though smoking often affects specific organs, it can also cause more general, widespread harm – as it does with the immune system. Smoking damages and reduces antibodies and immune cells, resulting in a much weaker immune system, which could lead to easily-caught and longer-lasting sickness, severe illnesses and infections, or even death. It also lowers the levels of antioxidants such as vitamin C and weakens cancer-fighting cells, which is why smoking is so often correlated with cancer. However, there is hope, as studies have shown that a weakened immune system can grow stronger when a smoker gives up cigarettes. The damage is not irreversible.
#8: It Increases the Visible Signs of Aging
Smoking doesn’t just affect your organs and immune system – it alters your physical appearance as well. Smoking restricts blood flow to the skin and damages the skin’s elasticity, resulting in premature wrinkling. Aside from premature wrinkles, smoking also causes sagging under youreyes, a poor skin tone (including off-colored skin), a smoker’s pucker, age spots, hair loss, and crow’s feet, all of which contribute to a significantly aged appearance. While these effects are not reversible, it is possible to limit their severity by quitting smoking.
#7: It Causes Infertility
Smoking is definitely one of the worst things you can do to your reproductive system. Smoking can result in numerous problems in fertility, including issues with ovulation, damage to the eggs, and damage to the reproductive organs themselves. However, it’s not just females who are affected. Male smokers also face serious fertility problems, including a dramatically lowered sperm count and erectile dysfunction. Even if smokers manage to get pregnant, smoking considerably raises the chances of a miscarriage or a baby born with notable and numerous health issues. In short, smokers, both male and female alike, may face significant problems when trying to conceive.
#6: It Weakens Your Bones
Smoking literally affects you right down to your bones. It’s been known for decades that smoking breaks down the integrity of the bone and results in an increased risk of osteoporosis – a bone disease that typically affects the elderly. The bones become so weak and brittle with the disease that breaks are common, even with minor stress on the bone. A study by the American Chemical Society showed that smoking produces excessive amounts of two specific proteins that the body uses to break down bone density. The result is significantly weaker bones and an increased risk of damage and injury, including fractures and breaks.
#5: It Causes Gum Disease, Bad Breath, and Tooth Loss
Seeing as you how smoke through your mouth, it’s only natural that it causes significant damage to that area. Aside from the aforementioned smoker’s pucker, smoking also makes it harder for your body to fight off gum infections like gingivitis due to the body’s weakened immune system. It also makes treatment of said diseases more difficult and puts you at twice the risk of developing some form of gum disease. The diseases could also lead to teeth loss, as the bone and tissue that holds your teeth in place become damaged and weakened. There is no winning when it comes to your mouth and smoking.
#4: It Makes Your Blood Thicker
It may sound disgusting, but smoking does indeed thicken the blood. Smoking basically turns your blood into sludge, turning the essential substance into a much thicker and stickier fluid. By extension, this forces the heart to work harder to distribute it around the body. Smoking also pumps cholesterol and fat into your blood, which increases the chance of developing a blood clot, and by extension, a heart attack or stroke. Finally, sticky blood can cause significant damage to the lining of your blood vessels, again increasing your chances of having a heart attack or stroke.
#3: It Destroys Lung Tissue
The most well-known side effect of smoking is easily the damage it causes to your lungs. For one thing, smoking encourages mucus production, resulting in thick mucus clogging your airways, which can make even the simple concept of breathing incredibly difficult. It also causes yourlungs to rapidly age, demolishes their defense mechanism, and destroys the tissue, resulting in less oxygen to the body. Finally, smoking damages the small cleaners of your lungs called cilia, which results in extremely dirty and clogged lungs. The physical damage to your lungs is severe, and that’s not even counting the cancer. Speaking of which…
#2: It Encourages Cancer Cell Growth
Many smokers develop some form of cancer throughout their lives, and that’s because smoking significantly encourages the growth of cancerous cells. The poison in tobacco smoke can alter the DNA of your cells, resulting in a cancerous cell. And due to a smoker’s weakened immune system, these cells rapidly grow and spread without a defensive force to stop them. Smoking can cause cancer almost everywhere in the body, including the throat, the liver, and, of course, the lungs. Doctors estimate that as many as 9 out of 10 instances of lung cancer results fromsmoking cigarettes.
#1: Increases Your Risk of Stroke and Heart Attack
As mentioned before, the thick and fat-filled blood that smoking produces significantly raises your chances of a heart attack and/or stroke, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the harmful effects smoking has on your heart. Smoking can result in dramatic cardiovascular diseases and is the cause of 1 in 3 deaths stemming from CVD. Smoking narrows the blood vessels, lowers the good cholesterol in your blood, raises triglycerides, and increases the buildup of plaque in the blood vessels themselves, all of which contribute to a greater chance of heart attack and stroke.