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Joint Pain Forum – News you can use!

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Are you sure you want to smoke?

May 17, 2007

Henrylito D. Tacio

CIGARETTE smoking causes lung cancer. This fact has been recognized in the United Kingdom and the United States in the early 1950s yet. Subsequent studies have confirmed this claim.

"Scientific data shows that smoking is associated with 30-40 percent of all cancer deaths," says Dr. Tanquilino Elicano Jr., one of the country's cancer experts. "Cancer risk increases with intensity of the habit, duration and the amount of tar in the cigarettes."

But despite this, Filipinos continue to smoke. In fact, results from the study conducted by the National Nutrition and Health Survey showed that the smoking prevalence in the country is higher than that in Singapore (24.2 percent), Japan (47.4 percent) and the United States (24.1 percent).

Unknowingly, lung cancer is just one of the many diseases smokers likely to get. Consider these: Emphysema. Emphysema is one of a group of lung diseases referred to as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that can interfere with normal breathing. Other diseases that come under COPD include asthma and chronic bronchitis.

"Emphysema is most common in men between the ages of 50 and 70 who have smoked heavily for years, but the disease is becoming more common in women as they join the ranks of heavy smokers," notes "The Medical Advisor: The Complete Guide to Alternative and Conventional Treatments."

Emphysema is a widespread disease of the lungs and people having this illness are particularly vulnerable to pneumonia, bronchitis, and other lung infections.

Heart-attack. A person's chance of getting a heart-attack increases by threefold if he smokes. A heart attack usually occurs when a blockage in a coronary artery greatly reduced or cuts off the blood supply to an area of the heart," the Merck Manual of Medical Information states. "If the supply is greatly reduced or cut off for more than a few minutes, heart tissue dies."

Medical science says smoking promotes the hardening of the arteries and reduces the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood.

"Cells in the heart muscle that do not receive enough oxygen-carrying blood begin to die," says Dr. Rafael D. Castillo, a cardiologist who works at the Manila Doctor's Hospital.

"The more time that passes without treatment to restore blood flow, the greater the damage to the heart." Rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis may be the oldest known ailment on earth.

Mummies uncovered in Egypt had it, prehistoric man had it, and dinosaurs had it. There are several forms of arthritis and the most common is rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body's immune systems attacks the joints leaving sufferers in severe pain and with reduced mobility.

Initial analysis of data from a research done by the Stanford University showed that smoking is a risk factor for developing rheumatoid arthritis among men.

"Smoking is associated with the production of rheumatoid factor, so it is not surprising that it should increase the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis," said the study, which appeared in "Arthritis Research and Therapy."

Impotence. Until the early 1970s, experts thought that most erection problems pointed to underlying problems in the psyche.

Today, the medical community recognizes that almost half of all impotent men have a physical or structural problem that's at least partly responsible.

Take smoking, for instance. Smoking has also been observed to cause slower penile erection among men because excessive nicotine in the bloodstream "causes constriction of the penile artery, the blood vessel necessary in male erection," to quote the words of Dr. Priscilla Tablan, a chest physician at the Lung Center of the Philippines.

She also said smoking might seriously hamper a man's potency or ability to sire children.

Cervical cancer. "Cervical cancer cases in developing countries of the region are almost four times more numerous than in developed countries," reports Dr. Gauden Galea, cancer specialist of the WHO regional office in Manila. In the Philippines, more than 4,000 new cases are reported each year.

According to the Singapore Cancer Society, some of the risk factors associated with cervical cancer include: sexual intercourse at an early age; multiple sex partners; genital infections such as herpes and human papilloma virus (HPV); and first pregnancy before the age of 20. Smoking, anyone?

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