Monday, October 21, 2013
What smoking does to a woman's body
fact, experts say the number of smokers has continued to swell, with
young adolescents taking to the dangerous habit with gusto.
"They see it as a rite of passage; while many see it as a way to be
'cool.' Yet, cigarette use is anything but cool, what with the toll it
takes on health, with different consequences among the sexes," says
General Practitioner, Dr. Friday Odiase.
The girl and the stick
How does smoking affect the female body, you may ask? According to the
online portal, g irlshealth.gov, every part of a woman's body pays the
price for the unhealthy habit of smoking.
While smoking affects the health of any smoker, researchers warn that
women stand greater risks in certain respects because of their
biological make-up. The risks are numerous, experts say, and they
A new research published in the American Heart Association
journal,Stroke, reveals that women smokers may be at greater risk for
a more deadly and uncommon type of stroke.
Researchers compared data from more than 80 international studies that
were published between 1966 and 2013, and found that smoking is linked
to more than a 50 per cent greater risk of ischemic stroke the most
common stroke — one that's caused by a blood clot — in both men and
women. However, for the more deadly type of stroke — one that is
caused by a brain bleed, known as a hemorrhagic stroke — smoking
resulted in a 17 per cent greater risk in women than in men.
The authors, Drs. Sanne Peters and Mark Woodward, suggest that the
greater risk for bleeding stroke among women might be due to hormones
and how nicotine impacts blood fats. "It seems that fats, cholesterol
and triglycerides increase to a greater extent in women who smoke,
compared with men who smoke, increasing their risk for coronary heart
disease to a greater extent than in male smokers," they enthuse.
The brain of any animal is the seat of intelligence, and it is one
organ of the body that determines whether or not you stay alive. For
instance, once the doctor declares an individual as brain dead,
keeping him on life support becomes meaningless and all medical
support is withdrawn at that point.
Physicians say when you smoke, you toy with your brain's health. This
is because nicotine — the substance that makes tobacco addictive —
goes to your brain very quickly. Though nicotine makes the smoker feel
good when she is smoking, it can also make her anxious, nervous,
moody, and depressed afterwards.
Worse still, experts say, using tobacco can cause headaches and
dizziness. Having a headache or feeling dizzy can be unsettling on its
own, when combined, experts say, they're even more perplexing.
Headache expert and director of the Headache Centre at the University
of California, San Francisco, Dr. Peter Goadsby, notes that when you
are dizzy, you may be feeling lightheadedness as if you're going to
pass out; or you may feel a sense of movement, "like you might be
spinning or the world might be spinning."
The worst part is that these symptoms might be indicative of other
underlying health conditions, which may be hidden because you are
already engaged in unhealthy behaviour.
The teeth are sometimes described as "pearly whites," indicative of
how a healthy set of teeth should look. But then, tobacco stains your
teeth, giving them brownish colour that is definitely unattractive. To
boot, it also gives you bad breath!
Worse still, a nutritionist, Dr. Remi Omotunde, says smoking ruins the
taste buds, such that the smoker won't be able to taste her favourite
foods. This may lead to bulimia anorexia — an eating disorder that is
entirely unrelated to smoking but which happens to be a secondary
fallout of the habit.
A health gum hovers between healthy pink and attractive red. However,
smoking changes all that, besides causing bleeding gums and cancers of
the mouth and throat, endocrinologists warn.
Cardiologists say a normal heart pumps approximately 4.7-5.7 litres of
blood per minute throughout the blood vessels to various parts of the
body by repeated, rhythmic contractions. Smoking impairs this function
and rather increases your heart rate and blood pressure and causes
heart disease and heart attacks. Worse still, if you try to do
activities like exercise or play sports, your heart has to work harder
to keep up. By the way, do you know of any athlete who is a smoker?
Not any in the global arena where a perfectly healthy body is the
least expected of any athlete!
Anatomically, physicians say, the lungs are one of the hardest-working
organs in the body. They expand and contract up to 20 times a minute
to supply oxygen to be distributed to the tissues all over the body
and expel carbon dioxide that has been created throughout the body.
That is talking about the normal, healthy lungs, which a smoker
Physicians warn that smokers have trouble breathing because smoking
damages the lungs, causing more frequent and more serious attacks
among the asthmatics; while it also causes a lot of coughing with
"The brown tar that tobacco leaves in the lungs can cause emphysema
(lung disease) and lung cancer," physicians warn.
Smoking and fertility
According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, cigarette
smoking is harmful to a woman's ovaries, and the degree of harm is
dependent upon the amount and the period of time a woman smokes.
It says, "Smoking appears to accelerate the loss of eggs and
reproductive function and may advance the time of menopause by several
years. Components in cigarette smoke have been shown to interfere with
the ability of cells in the ovary to make oestrogen and to cause a
woman's eggs to be more prone to genetic abnormalities."
A Professor of Reproductive Endocrinology, Oladapo Ashiru, adds,
"Smoking is strongly associated with an increased risk of spontaneous
miscarriage and possibly ectopic pregnancy as well. Pregnant smokers
are more likely to have low birth weight babies and premature birth.
"The incidence of sudden infant death syndrome also increases in
households where someone smokes."