Nicotine and Fitness
By: Marylin Salgado
July 1, 2019
Regardless of whether you like to smoke or chew tobacco in its various forms, I am going to take the time to tell you why physicians are so fixated on helping their patients quit the nasty habit. I am not going to tell you not to smoke. I smoked for many years and quit 16 years ago. Unlike some individuals, whom require meds or patches to help them quit, I quit cold turkey, after I learned these facts about the damage nicotine causes to our bodies.
If you think it only affects your mouth or lungs, then let me break this down to you system by system. If you think taking a puff for fun, was just for fun. Think again. You are messing your body up in ways you can’t even start to imagine.
The Brain – Nicotine can affect the Cortex of the brain, which is where thought process, memory, language and perception take place.
Hair, Skin and Nails – Nicotine causes bags under your eyes, brittle hair and skin, and the skin will develop either pale or uneven tones from the lack of oxygen and nutrients the Nicotine blocks. Nicotine also damages the tissues building blocks, causing the sagging skin under the eyes, arms and even the breasts, ladies. (Men, you will get the not so attractive boobs too.) You will also start to get those lines on top of the lips, which is caused by years of pursing your lips around the cigarette. Crow’s feet, and I mean, long wrinkles by your eyes, not just “I am starting to grow old” wrinkles, and age spots will be an issue for your skin. Your nails and tip of your fingers will turn dry, brittle and yellow. From the lack of oxygen and nutrients, you will also start to see your hair thinning. You will be at a greater risk of developing psoriasis, which is a skin condition accompanied by dry, itchy patches to the skin.
Oral Health – Nicotine causes damaged, yellow teeth, gum disease and persistent bad breath. Due to the extent of damage on the gums, you will eventually start losing your teeth. You also risk getting oral cancer
Eyes – You can eventually develop cataracts, which is an ugly cloudy film over your eyes. Because of the seriousness of the condition, surgery is needed to remove the cataract. You may also go blind.
Respiratory/Lungs – Nicotine irritates your vocal cords and your wind pipe (throat). You can develop esophageal cancer and won’t be able to swallow food. You will also develop reduced lung function and increase mucous production to the lungs, i.e. smoker’s cough. The lungs will not be able to clear the airways, therefore causing the buildup of toxic substances; eventually developing lung diseases such as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), Emphysema, Asthma, and Lung Cancer. You increase chances of continuous lung infections and permanently damaging the air sacs in the lungs.
Circulatory/Cardiac – Nicotine increases your blood pressure and heart rate. It also causes constriction in blood vessels, which results in decreased skin temperature, so you are constantly feeling cold. During exercise, less oxygen is carried in the blood, which may cause light headedness. The lining of your arteries might become damaged and fatty deposits might accumulate on the arterial walls. There will be poor circulation caused by decreased blood flow to fingers and toes. Finally, there will be an increase of suffering a stroke or heart attack.
Immune System – Increased susceptibility to infections, pneumonia and flu and longer healing times for bacterial or viral infections.
Musculoskeletal – Nicotine might cause tightening of the muscles as well as reduced bone density.
Sexual system and function – Men will suffer from lower sperm count or deformed sperm. You may also suffer from impotence (or the old wet noodle guys, which means no nookie). Get ready for the blue pill. Women may suffer from reduced fertility or missed periods. You also increase the risk of getting cervical cancer.
So, to sum it all up…. Nicotine makes you look like crap, feel like crap and it tears up your insides. Have fun with that!
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