The list of bad effects of smoking is really very impressive but still millions of people around the world can not quit this bad habit. First of all, smoking is linked to very high risk of lung cancer which is currently the second most common type of cancer in the UK and takes over 41,500 people’s lives every year. According to Cancer Research magazine, every 9 of 10 cases of lung cancer is caused by heavy smoking. Other common bad effects of smoking include high risk of vascular problems like varicose veins, pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases, infertility in both men and women. Finally, getting no proper quit smoking help and being unable to give up this terrible habit before the age of 40 can end up with very serious consequences for women. According to the findings of Oxford University scientists, women aged 40+ who can not stop smoking are exposed to very high risk of premature death and usually live a 10-year shorter life.
A group of researchers at King’s College London contributed in this issue and suggested that now the list bad effects of smoking could be extended for one more serious health condition. According to the findings of their study published this year in in the journal Age and Ageing, smoking literally destroys and kills our brain cells causing memory impairment, decrease in mental and learning abilities, increased Alzheimer’s risk and higher risk of other types of dementia, as well as other related negative effects. These are the conclusions that the scientists came to after analyzing the data on 8,800 people, all avid smokers aged over 50. First of all, it was found out that those smokers who suffer from being overweight and have elevated blood pressure are at quite high risk of developing dementia like brain disorders and have the mind seriously damaged.
Therefore, the researchers focused their work on studying the connections between the risk of brain disorders and the risk for heart disease or stroke. They used extensive data collected on the participants, including their eating habits, diet, lifestyle, and the results of various brain function tests (for example, they were asked to name as many animals as they could remember within one minute). The same kinds of tests were repeated in 4 and 8 years. After analyzing the information, King’s College scientists found strong links between increasing risk for cardiovascular condition (mainly heart disease and stroke) and cognitive decline in smokers. At that, according to the report, the heaviest smokers among the participants have demonstrated the worst performance in tests. “Cognitive decline becomes more common with ageing and for an increasing number of people interferes with daily functioning and well-being,” Dr Alex Dregan, one of the study authors, commented on the findings of his research group.
Now, one more interesting question has raised: how do the discovered links between smoking and increased Alzheimer’s risk change with the age of smokers. Also, the scientists are going to try to learn more about the probability to develop serious cognitive decline like life-affecting dementia like brain disorders after the first decline. More studies are to come. Cognitive decline is a very common side effect of aging which affects every one in three people aged 65+, and there is plenty of factors that can trigger and speed up the development of this serious health condition. According to the experts from Alzheimer’s Research UK, it is primarily important to increase public awareness about the problem and about the importance of looking after our cardiovascular health in order to decrease the risk for cognitive decline.
“Research has repeatedly linked smoking and high blood pressure to a greater risk of cognitive decline and dementia, and this study adds further weight to that evidence,” said Dr Simon Ridley, a specialist from Alzheimer’s Research UK. In order to decrease the mentioned risks, it is essential to focus on preventing negative effects of the main factors: smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high BMI (body mass index). What is the most effective way to do that? The answer to this question is very simple and well known: following a healthy diet and exercise plan, getting your cholesterol level and pressure checked regularly, and decrease the bad effects of smoking by quitting this nasty habit. This will make a big difference and allow us live a much longer and happier life! Read more about the findings of a group of British scientists regarding the links between smoking and cognitive decline risk in this report.
Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.