You may know the toll cigarette smoking takes on the lungs, as well as increasing the risk for heart and lung disease, but did you know what it does to the rest of the body?
It can cause heartburn and GERD
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder that affects the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the ring of muscle between the esophagus and stomach. Smoking weakens this sphincter, allowing the stomach contents to go back up into the esophagus, causing heartburn.
It can make your blood sugar go out of whack
Did you know smokers are 30-40% more at risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes than nonsmokers? And the more they smoke, the higher this risk goes up. In addition, people with diabetes who smoke are more likely to develop diabetic complications like heart and kidney disease, damaged nerves, and the need for amputation.
It can cause erectile dysfunction
Male sexual function is negatively affected with smoking. For a man to sustain an erection, there must be enough blood flow to the penis. The chemicals in cigarettes can damage the lining of blood vessels, which disables this blood flow, causing weak erections.
It can contribute to blindness
Over time, smoking increases the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of blindness over the age of 65. Smokers are also twice as likely to develop cataracts than non-smokers.
Need help quitting? It’s never too late!
https://smokefree.gov/ is free online resource offered by the National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C. It provides you all the tools you need to quit smoking and offers separate portals for women, teens, veterans, seniors, and Spanish speakers.
1. 10 Health Effects Caused by Smoking You Didn’t Know About. American Lung Association. http://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/tobacco/reports-resources/sotc/by-the-numbers/10-health-effects-caused-by-smoking.html Accessed July 10, 2018.
2. Smoking and Diabetes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/diseases/diabetes.html Accessed July 10, 2018.
3. Definition & Facts for GER & GERD. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/acid-reflux-ger-gerd-adults/definition-facts Accessed July 10, 2018.
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This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information from this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article.