There is a lot of talk about smoking and cancer. Right I am sure that smoking is one of the first causes of cancer, especially for some types, such as lung cancer. It seems to me that, however, little is emphasized how much smoking damages our small newspaper or in any case influences pathologies that are perhaps less frightening than cancer, but still very frequent and insidious. I am a nurse and I work in a diabetes clinic and, very often, I have the feeling that our patients are not aware of these aspects of smoking. What can you tell me about this? So can you help me to better warn our patients of the dangers of smoking?
Roberto Boffi, Head of Pneumology and Anti-Smoking Center, answers
National Cancer Institute, Milan.
You are right: even if there are aspects in which smoking has a negative macro effect (such as the one you mentioned, or the increased risk of lung cancer), it is possible to trace the damage of smoking in many areas related not only to health, but also aesthetics, physical and mental performance, psychological well-being.
The other pathologies
We have recently written on this topic on the blog of the National Cancer Institute and in the meantime I can tell you that smoking is a contributing cause of arterial hypertension, a risk factor that increases the chances of developing cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack, stroke, thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, aortic (abdominal) aneurysm,n particularly if associated with diabetes, sedentary lifestyle, use of hormonal contraceptives and advanced age. Without neglecting the chronic damage that smoking causes on arterial vessels, such as the loss of elasticity and the predisposition to the formation of atherosclerotic plaques.
Smoking and diabetes
Smoking and diabetes are much more interrelated than you think. Obesity, genetic factors and smoking are in fact recognized risk factors for the development of insulin resistance, which can give rise to type 2 diabetes, the non-insulin-dependent one. Smoking can accelerate the onset of the disease in people at risk and for those with diabetes it can aggravate complications, particularly cardiovascular ones. Blackened, less elastic and inflamed lungs, cough and phlegm are almost constant in smokers. 20 percent of smokers suffer from BPCO, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is a disease that can become severely disabling and that causes repeated respiratory infections and frequent bouts of air hunger, that is, the difficulty in letting the air out of the lungs and letting it in again, rich in oxygen.
Difficulty in procreating
I smokers, women and men, have more difficulty becoming parents. In women, smoking can not only increase infertility problems, but also increase the possibility of spontaneous abortion or ectopic pregnancy. And during pregnancy, smoking, even if only passive, increases the risk of premature birth and, as is now known, associated with a low birth weight. Finally, in men, smoking compromises the quality of seminal fluid and also acts, at the circulatory and neurological level, in contributing to sexual impotence.
March 13, 2021 (change March 13, 2021 | 20:57)