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Why Smoking Can Be More Harmful to Those With Fibromyalgia
Unfortunately, a high number of individuals who have fibromyalgia smoke, perhaps partially due to the stress the illness causes. In addition to the diseases and distress smoking causes, it can worsen your fibromyalgia symptoms; you may experience an increase in pain, fatigue, stiffness and debility if you smoke.
There are a multitude of reasons to quit smoking if you have fibromyalgia.
1. Inflammation and Symptoms Worsen When You Smoke
Fibromyalgia causes inflammation, which results in pain and other symptoms. On top of this, tobacco also causes widespread inflammation — meaning smokers who have fibromyalgia are left feeling worse.
Smoking also damages your immune system, which is already compromised by fibromyalgia. You need to keep your immune system as healthy as possible by not engaging in smoking and other activities that harm immune system health.
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2. Cigarettes Harm the Health of Your Respiratory Tract
Smoking changes the cells within your respiratory tract; production of phlegm increases and narrowing passages within your respiratory tissues makes it harder for you to clear the phlegm from your lungs. As a result, mucus accumulates.
The damp, warm mucus is a perfect breeding ground for infections — such as pneumonia, strep throat and influenza — to develop. Some of the changes to your cells may result in the formation of cancer cells.
Fifteen percent of cigarette smokers develop significant airway obstruction. Experts believe smoking is responsible for 80 to 90 percent of all deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
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3. Smoke Contains Harmful Chemicals
When you inhale cigarette smoke, it is not just the addicting nicotine you need to worry about. Tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals and toxins.
Many of the compounds in cigarette smoke are poisonous to your body. They don’t just increase inflammation — they’re deadly.
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4. Nicotine Has Harmful Effects on Your Body
Nicotine raises your heart rate, which over time makes your heart work harder than it should. It causes your blood vessels to constrict, which results in poor circulation — particularly in the small blood vessels throughout your body.
Constricted blood vessels also contribute to the development of high blood pressure. Hypertension and poor blood vessel health create heart disease, stroke, and circulatory problems of the extremities, kidneys and other organs.
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5. Carbon Monoxide in Smoke Is a Poisonous Gas
You wouldn’t inhale the fumes from car exhaust because you know they could kill you, so why do you smoke cigarettes? Smoking contains carbon dioxide, too. While it may not be in amounts that will kill you as quickly as inhaling car exhaust fumes, the long-term effects are still present.
Carbon monoxide interferes with your red blood cells’ ability to carry oxygen to the rest of your cells, making your heart beat faster and work harder. It also impacts your brain; you may experience increased anxiety, poorer performance of tasks, impaired memory and thinking problems as a result of smoking.
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6. Cigarette Smoking Causes Premature Death
Cigarette smoking is directly responsible for over 20 percent of deaths in the United States. Almost 90 percent of people who die from lung cancer lose their lives due to smoking. Avoiding smoking is the most preventable way to avoid premature death and the terrible suffering that comes with it.
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7. Tobacco Products Cause Cancer
Lung cancer isn’t the only form of cancer you are putting yourself at risk for developing if you smoke. Smoking tobacco raises your risks of developing mouth and throat cancers, which can be particularly disfiguring, painful, and hard to live with.
Living with and dying from cancer is often a long and difficult process for patients, as well as their loved ones. Pancreatic, esophageal, kidney, stomach, cervical and bladder cancer risks are raised when you smoke.
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8. Tobacco Products Are Expensive
Many people use the excuse, “I would quit, but the patches and other medications I need are too expensive.” This is simply a cop out — you spend a lot more on tobacco products over the years than you would completing a smoking cessation program.
Most people don’t succeed on their first attempt to quit tobacco, but keep trying until you do. There are many therapies available, so find one or a combination of programs to suit you.
Medications, therapy, counseling and acupuncture are just a few of the many tools you have at your disposal. Most health insurance companies cover the cost of smoking cessation tools.
Check with the cancer society and health departments in your jurisdiction as well. Many health departments offer free or low-cost tools to help you end your addiction.
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9. Smoking Is an Unhealthy Example for Your Loved Ones
While all family members are impacted due to their loved one’s illness, many become ill themselves due to exposure to secondhand smoke. Exposure to secondhand smoke puts adults around you at risk for ischemic heart disease, impaired lung function and lung cancer.
Secondhand smoke is particularly dangerous for children and pets. Children exposed to it are at risk for diminished lung function, asthma, and other respiratory illnesses.
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10. Smoking Sends the Wrong Message to Those Who Love You
In addition to potentially harming the physical health of people you care about, if you smoke you are demonstrating that smoking is acceptable and too powerful to overcome. Even if you say, “I can’t quit, I have tried,” you are showing your loved ones that difficult problems aren’t worth fighting.
Do you really want your children or grandchildren to view you as someone who doesn’t care enough about yourself and loved ones that you won’t keep persevering until you succeed?
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Quit Today and Reap the Rewards
The costs of not quitting are simply too high for yourself and those who love you. You already have fibromyalgia — you certainly don’t need more health problems.
If you think quitting smoking is hard, can you imagine how difficult it is living with or dying from smoking-related diseases? It’s a whole lot harder than quitting smoking.
Stop smoking today — you’re worth it, and your loved ones are worth it. You can succeed even if you haven’t been successful before or if you already have a smoking-related illness.
Start today, even if it is only by not smoking one cigarette. Tomorrow, skip two cigarettes. You will succeed. Life will be vastly better for you and those you love.