What lies beneath…

Listen

…or should I say a world out of balance?

I am almost shocked, how can this not be known? Why haven’t I heard about it? Was I living under a rock for the last 20 years? Maybe I just didn’t want to hear any more bad news and didn’t pay attention? Yes, this must be it.

But, if it was just me trying to ignore more facts about my past smoking habit, why is it hardly mentioned anywhere? Smokers wake up!!!! There is more that you might have to deal with one day besides the known threat of cancers, heart diseases or emphysema.

The information is out there and so easy to find. Smoking and Nicotine is related to autoimmune diseases (that is a proven fact) but still we don’t talk about it –not even on webpages trying to help smokers to quit. How can this be? How can we ignore the facts?

Maybe I am just furious, because I might have to deal with an autoimmune disease and it only matters when it hits home? But the numbers show clearly it’s not just me, there are many of us and sadly, many more to come. Many more ex-smokers who might be affected!

Autoimmune diseases* affect up to 50 Million American (source AARDA) and yet a lot of us can’t even name one disease name when asked. We heard about it, but, as long as we are not affected, we push it to the side and don’t pay too much attention.

Diseases like: Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Type 1 diabetes, Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Celiac disease (Gluten intolerance) and many more….too many to list.

Let me share some facts and numbers with all of you –it made my head spin, let me make your head spin as well:

  • Autoimmune diseases are the eighth leading cause of death among women, shortening the average patient’s lifespan by fifteen years. While one in 69 women below the age of fifty will be diagnosed with breast cancer, as many as one in nine women of childbearing years will be diagnosed with an autoimmune illness, which strike three times as many women as men — and most often strike patients in their prime.
  • What causes autoimmune diseases remains a mystery, but researchers may have found a big piece of the puzzle: Studies show that smoking not only worsens autoimmune disease symptoms, but it also may pay a role in causing them.
  • It can also be concluded that both the duration of tobacco consumption and the number of cigarettes smoked daily influence the risk of developing an autoimmune disease. However, the length of time over which cigarettes were consumed is clearly more significant; the risk of becoming ill increases markedly after 20 years.
  • Cigarette smoking is one of the major environmental factors suggested to play a crucial role in the development of several diseases. Disorders affecting the great portion of the population, such as atherosclerosis, lung cancer or cardiovascular diseases, are highly associated with tobacco consumption. More recently, it has been reported that smoking is involved in the pathogenesis of certain autoimmune diseases such as RA, systemic lupus erythematosus, systemic sclerosis, multiple sclerosis and Celiac disease.
  • Until a few years ago, a coherent explanation of how smoking triggers the break in immunotolerance and why tobacco smoke promotes the onset of autoimmune disease was still missing. A group of Swedish researchers has found one of the missing links in the pathogenic chain between tobacco smoke and rheumatoid arthritis (Makrygiannakis et al., 2008). The scientists from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm showed that cigarette smoke is directly involved in the development of rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Cigarette smoking over a sufficiently long time and at a sufficient intensity clearly leads to enduring immunomodulation.
  • After the patients quit smoking, it still takes several years for these long-lived cells to be cleared from the body. This is in agreement with the observation that the risk of getting RA for former smokers only decreases noticeably after about ten years of abstinence.

 

I could go on and on…the information is right there, so easy to find!

Quit smoking…and quit now! You don’t want to be in my shoes in 10 or 20 years!!! Remember…I was one of you just a while back -I smoked for 35 years. A lot of my readers and blogging-friends are younger than me and I know how you feel, I can almost hear you “this doesn’t effect me” or “there is still time to quit later on” are thoughts I had as well.

Well, guess what, the way it looks like it did effect me and now I have to fight “something” that I could have avoided if I would have quit earlier. “Could have”, “should have”…won’t help me right now, I am going to fight this anyway**…but it might help you!

For Heaven’s sake…QUIT SMOKING!!!


 

*An autoimmune disease develops when your immune system, which defends your body against disease, decides your healthy cells are foreign. As a result, your immune system attacks healthy body cells. Depending on the type, an autoimmune disease can affect one or many different types of body tissue. It can also cause abnormal organ growth and changes in organ function.

**Update: Started my fastening program and like it. My new best friend “the juicer” and I are having fun :-). Almond milk tastes good and is acceptable…but sucks in coffee 🙂

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