Smoking. You know it causes lung cancer, emphysema, and heart disease. So why are you still lighting up? To help you quit, we've tracked down some little known ways your life can go up in smoke if you don't kick the habit. We got these from Web MD.
- Risk #1: Alzheimer's Disease: Smoking speeds up mental decline. In fact, the rate is up to 5 times faster in smokers than in nonsmokers, according to a study of over 9,000 men and women over age 65. It doesn’t make a difference if you have a family history of dementia. Why is this? Dr. A. Ott is a medical microbiologist with Erasmus University Medical Centre in the Netherlands. He says smoking seems to cause a vicious cycle of artery damage, clotting and increased risk of stroke, which leads to mental decline.
- Risk #2: Acid Reflux: Heavy smoking is linked to heartburn. Roughly 1 in 5 people suffer from heartburn or acid reflux, known medically as gastro-esophageal reflux disease - or GERD. Studies show that people who smoke for more than 20 years are 70% more likely to have acid reflux disease than nonsmokers and ultimately, your acid reflux can lead to esophageal cancer.
- One last smoking risk you may not know about: Blindness: Smoking raises your risk of age-related macular degeneration - a severe and progressive condition that results in loss of central vision. You become unable to use the part of the retina that allows for ‘straight-ahead’ activities - such as reading, sewing, and even driving a vehicle. While all the risk factors aren’t fully understood, research has pointed to smoking as one major cause. More than a quarter of all cases of age-related macular degeneration can be attributed to current or past exposure to smoking. In other words, smokers are 4 times more likely to become blind than those who’ve never smoked.
It’s time to kick the habit. No butts about it! If you’ve never smoked, DO NOT start! It’s not cool – it’s a death sentence.