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Smoking and Cancer: What is the Real Impact?

Smoking is injurious to a person’s health in a lot of ways but is especially compounds the risks of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Smoking not only causes cancer to the person who is indulging in the habit but also may threaten those around the smoker.

Since a very young age, Shraddha had known that her father smoked. It never seemed like a big deal, because all his friends also smoked. However, sometime in his mid-30s, her father suffered a stroke which uncovered many cardiac complications. Shraddha’s father was examined by a cardiologist who suggested that the habit of smoking was likely to aggravate his condition further. While her father had taken necessary precautions in the form of purchasing term insurance, Shraddha’s mother insisted that he must quit smoking. Despite his protests, Shraddha and her brother were both enlisted by their mother to help their father quit the dangerous habit.

As the infographic suggests, smoking can result in humans contracting 16 types of cancer. Smoking not only causes cancer, but also blocks the body’s ability to fight cancer cells. As a result, the number of malignant cells in the body far outnumber the number of benign cells when the cancer begins spreading and thus, gets more difficult to treat. The poison contained within tobacco smoke also damages or alters the cell’s DNA, which controls a cell’s normal growth and function. Owing to damaged DNA, a cell begins growing out of control and results in turning cancerous and can lead to the development of cancerous tumours .

Aside from cancer, smoking also results in several other harmful diseases. Read on to learn about the real impact that smoking can cause on the human body.

  • To the Lungs:
    The airways and small air sacs within the lungs can be damaged by smoking. Persistent smoking results in worsening of lung functions. Smoking also further deteriorates conditions for patients suffering from pneumonia and asthma. Additionally, smoking increases the risk of people contracting a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease that can be much more harmful than lung cancer. Chronic bronchitis is a type of COPD, wherein the airways create too much mucus which is required to be coughed out by the person. The disease results in inflamed airways and chronic coughing. The airways, over time, become choked by mucus and scar tissue which can result in the development of pneumonia. Another type of COPD, called emphysema, is also significantly affected by smoking, wherein patients’ risk of contracting problems of weak lung function is heightened.

  • To the Heart and Blood Vessels:
    Smoking has been known to increase the risks of cardiovascular diseases, including strokes and heart attacks. This is mainly due to smoking resulting in higher blood pressure, lowered ability to exercise, decreasing levels of HDL cholesterol in the blood and making blood more likely to clot. Smoking has been found to increase the risks of contracting peripheral arterial disease (PAD), in which plaque builds up within the arteries responsible for carrying blood to the limbs, head and organs. PAD increases the risks of heart disease, heart attacks and strokes significantly. Smoking also results in peripheral vascular disease (PVD), which results in worsened blood flow to the limbs.

  • Other Parts of the Body:
    In women, smoking can result in damage to reproductive health. Women who smoke are more likely to suffer an ectopic pregnancy, which could threaten their lives. An ectopic pregnancy refers to a situation wherein the embryo implants on the outside of the uterus. Severe complications can arise during pregnancies of women who smoke, including early membrane ruptures and placentas separating from the uterus too early. Smoking also decreases the functionality of the immune system and causes premature ageing of the skin.

No part of the body is unaffected by smoking. It is a dangerous habit that must be kicked at the earliest to ensure a healthy manner of life. Shraddha’s father finally conceded to his family’s demands and gave up smoking. His health improved significantly, which was most noticeable in the lesser instances of his coughing. However, the dreadful illness can strike you unannounced and there is no harm in being prepared. Presenting Future Generali Cancer Protect Plan that protects you against many types of cancer starting at just 2₹ per day.

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