No Smoking Day: Did you know the habit is injurious to brain too?

Keep your teen from smoking.(photo:IANSLIFE)
When someone smokes, the harmful effects of smoking affect the sub-cortical part of the brain. Photo: Shutterstock

It is a known fact that smoking affects the lungs and heart, but the habit can also damage your brain in equal measure, say experts. On 'No Smoking Day,' let’s take a quick lowdown on how smoking affects the brain, which is an important and complex organ of the human body.

Brain shrinks
The size of the brain is related to increased brain power and the ability to do multiple cognitive functions. When someone smokes, the harmful effects of smoking affect the sub-cortical part of the brain. This portion of the brain is connected to your emotions, memory power, happiness and production of hormones. Moreover, the smokers are at a higher risk of their brains shrinking.

Memory loss
Smoking triggers memory loss but that doesn’t mean that all smokers would suffer from dementia. The chances of smokers having dementia are pretty low if there is a dip in the use of nicotine.

Smoking increases stroke risk and the World Stroke Organization has highlighted the dangers of smoking. The risk of a person smoking 20 cigarettes and suffering a stroke is six times more than a non-smoker. Cigarette smoke contains thousands of harmful chemicals that adversely affect your health and these enter the bloodstream through the lungs. Eventually, these injurious chemicals take a toll on the cells. Blood circulation also takes a toll resulting in a higher risk of stroke.

Decreased brain power
Many research papers have talked about the reduced brain power triggered by smoking. The first point that was raised is that smoking results in early onset of brain aging and this can usher in Alzheimer’s disease. The risk of memory loss is also connected with high blood pressure and cholesterol, and Type 2 diabetes. Smoking can also cause a lack of sleep and other sleep disorders. All these conditions raise the risk of memory loss.

Brain cancer
Everyone knows that smoking causes lung cancer but now it has been proved that this dreadful habit can also cause brain cancer. The researchers of Wake Forest School of Medicine have made the revelation that smoking can trigger cancer of the brain. Nicotine is the main reason why the cancer cells in the lungs spread to the brain. The study was conducted on 281 lung cancer patients and it was found that smokers are at a higher risk of having brain cancer.  

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