Posts Tagged smoking dangers

Smoking Responsible for Poor Life Expectancy in Americans

Experts have been trying to figure out why the United States does not measure up to other countries in terms of life expectancy – despite the fact that it spends more per capita on health care, and has a population that is relatively wealthy and well-nourished. A feature by Reuters shared a report that explained why.

smokingA report from the National Research Council, which was released on Tuesday, identified smoking as the major factor behind the disparity in lifespan between Americans and citizens of other countries. The panel of experts also mentioned the following in their report: “Other factors, such as obesity, diet, exercise, and economic inequality, also have likely played a role in the current gap and divergence between the United States and other countries.”

Ranked 1st in terms of life expectancy is Japan; the United Nations said that a child born today will most probably live to be 83, on average. The United States, on the other hand, is ranked 36th, with a life expectancy of 78.3.

While it may be true that the number of Americans who smoke has declined over the years, in 1960, more than 40 percent of American adults smoked. The experts wrote further that smoking was more widespread in the United States fifty years ago, when compared to other countries; there were more Americans who were smokers, and who “smoked more intensively” during that time, according to the experts.

“The health consequences of this behavior are still playing out in today’s mortality rates,” they added.

Things are likely to improve, however, given the fact that smoking rates have dropped.

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Illnesses Linked to Smoking

No matter how we look at it, smoking is dangerous. Smokers suffer from increased risk of developing certain illnesses, some of which we have outlined below.

Heart Diseases

smokingSmoking significantly increases the risk of coronary heart disease, peripheral arterial disease and stroke. Nicotine is addictive. It allows a certain boost of energy, giving a rush of adrenaline and providing a pleasant feeling. This chemical reaction damages the heart as adrenaline speeds up the heart and tightens the arteries up. This increases the blood pressure and strains the heart. Smoking has a damaging effect to the arteries, blood vessels and the heart itself. This is why smokers are more likely to suffer and die from heart-related diseases.

Lung Cancer

The rise of lung cancer as one of the most common causes of death can be directly attributed to cigarette smoking. Smoking cigarettes is responsible for over 90% of all lung cancer-related deaths. Cigarette smoke introduces about 40 toxic carcinogens to the body. The more a person smokes cigarettes, the more likely he or she is to have lung cancer.

Emphysema

Another one of the most common diseases that come with smoking is emphysema. It is a critical lung disease related with the degradation of the tiny air sacs located in the lungs due to exposure to tobacco smoke.

Other diseases linked to smoking are:

•    Bronchitis
•    Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease
•    Liver cancer
•    Prostate cancer
•    Erectile dysfunction in men
•    Stomach cancer
•    Bladder and kidney cance
•    Abdominal aortic aneurysm
•    Acute myeloid leukemia
•    Cataracts
•    Cervical cancer
•    Kidney cancer
•    Pancreatic cance
•    Periodontitis
•    Pneumonia

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