Tag Archive | blindness

Blindness causes Smoking and Smoking causes Blindness

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Smoking is a major factor contributing to the early development of age-related macular degeneration. Age-related macular degeneration is the most common cause of blindness in the Western world.

Recent studies have found a link between some common eye problems and cardiovascular (heart) disease. In particular, people with age-related macular degeneration were found to have double the risk of death from a heart attack or stroke than those without the condition.

Cigarette smoking speeds up the development of atherosclerotic plaques (collections of cholesterol and fat), in the walls of arteries. These are like porridge, gradually blocking arteries so that blood flow becomes limited.

Nicotine and carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke are thought to be important causes of arteries losing their elasticity. This means that arteries respond less well to fluctuations in pressure and are more likely to rupture.

How the eye is affected???

The macular area of the retina has the finest blood supply in the body, serving the retinal receptors that enable us to see minute detail clearly. Obstruction and failure of the blood supply to the macula happens even before other body functions may be affected. This blood vessel damage causes a gradual failure of vision. New vessel growth and leakage can result in scarring of the retina and severe vision loss.

The average age that people present with age-related macular degeneration in the first eye is about 65 years. The second eye becomes impaired at a rate of about 12 per cent each year and about 60 per cent of patients are legally blind in both eyes by their 70th birthday. There is no effective medical or surgical cure for age-related macular degeneration, but rehabilitation advice helps people to live more independently.

The impact of vision problems:

Age-related macular degeneration has extensive implications. People who have it:

  • Cannot read or see detail on the TV
  • Cannot easily recognise faces
  • Cannot drive
  • Confuse medication labels and are at risk of other illnesses
  • Fall more easily and suffer more serious complications from falling
  • Lose independence and may require residential care earlier than if their vision was normal.

“Quitting smoking, is a way to ensure that good vision is maintained for as long as possible.” 

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Effects On Body

Effects of smoking tobacco on the body

 Inhaling tobacco smoke causes damage to many of the body’s organs and systems.

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Effects of smoking on the respiratory system:

  1. irritation of the trachea (windpipe) and larynx (voice box)
  2. reduced lung function and breathlessness due to swelling and narrowing of the lung airways and excess mucus in the lung passages
  3. impairment of the lungs’ clearance system, leading to the build-up of poisonous substances, which results in lung irritation and damage
  4. increased risk of lung infection and symptoms such as coughing and wheezing
  5. permanent damage to the air sacs of the lungs.

Effects of smoking on the circulatory system: Blood_nicotine_graph

  1. raised blood pressure and heart rate
  2. constriction (tightening) of blood vessels in the skin, resulting in a drop in skin temperature
  3. less oxygen carried by the blood during exercise
  4. ‘stickier’ blood, which is more prone to clotting
  5. damage to the lining of the arteries, which is thought to be a contributing factor to atherosclerosis (the build-up of fatty deposits on the artery walls)
  6. reduced blood flow to extremities (fingers and toes)
  7. increased risk of stroke and heart attack due to blockages of the blood supply.

Effects of smoking on the immune system:

  1. greater susceptibility to infections such as pneumonia and influenza
  2. more severe and longer-lasting illnesses
  3. lower levels of protective antioxidants (such as vitamin C), in the blood.

Effects of smoking on the musculo-skeletal system:

  1. tightening of certain muscles
  2. reduced bone density.

Effects of smoking on the sexual organs:

  1. lower sperm count
  2. higher percentage of deformed sperm
  3. genetic damage to sperm
  4. impotence, which may be due to the effects of smoking on blood flow and damage to the blood vessels of the penis.

Other effects of smoking on the body:

  1. irritation and inflammation of the stomach and intestines
  2. increased risk of painful ulcers along the digestive tract
  3. reduced ability to smell and taste
  4. premature wrinkling of the skin
  5. higher risk of blindness
  6. gum disease (periodontitis).

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