When most people think about the health dangers of smoking cigarettes, the damage to the lungs and heart may come to mind. But smoking can damage many other vital body organs, including the brain. It is believed that smoking can damage the body’s vascular system, explaining why smokers have a higher risk of stroke than non-smokers. Let's delve deeper into the various ways smoking can influence dementia risk and how to reduce it.
How Smoking Raises Dementia Risk
Research has consistently shown a higher rate of cognitive decline among those who smoke. Cognitive decline, which often impacts memory first, can be an early sign of dementia. While the studies are not conclusive about how smoking could lead to cognitive decline, the vascular system may play a key role.
The vascular system delivers a healthy flow of blood to brain cells, which is vital in keeping the brain functioning properly. If the vascular system is damaged, the blood flow to the brain may become interrupted. Over time, these brain cells which do not receive enough blood can die off, leading to cognitive issues.
Can You Reduce Your Risk by Quitting Smoking Now?
By quitting smoking, especially if you are middle-aged or younger, you can reverse many of the negative health effects of smoking. You may be able to lower your blood pressure to normal levels, which will also reduce your risk of vascular system issues. While the damage done by vascular dementia cannot be reversed, the sooner you are diagnosed, the sooner treatment can begin which can slow down the progression of the disease.
What are the Best Ways to Quit Smoking?
There are many ways to quit smoking that have proven to be effective. Which one you choose really comes down to personal preference and your lifestyle. For example, some people may find nicotine gum to be a favorable replacement therapy, because it occupies their mouth with something other than a cigarette and they find gum-chewing to be a stress reliever. Some may prefer the privacy of a nicotine patch, which can be placed under clothing.
If you want to quit smoking but you spend a lot of time with people who smoke, you may want to consider the e-cigarette. It offers the look and mouth feel of a real cigarette, and can deliver puffs of nicotine if you find it necessary as you wean off real cigarettes. So it offers many of the pleasures you may find in smoking, but removes many of the harmful attributes at the same time. E-cigarettes allow you to hang out at the bar with friends and enjoy a safer smoke without having to feel peer pressure.
E-cigarettes come in many styles and flavor varieties. You may want to try a starter pack to see if e-cigarettes are right for you. Many longtime smokers find that once they switch to e-cigarettes, they end up saving money, which is another added bonus.
Whatever method you take to quit smoking, it is important you do so as early in life as possible. Smoking can damage most of the major body organs, including your brain. Cognitive decline can interfere with your ability to work and carry out the daily tasks of life. The sooner you quit smoking and the sooner any signs of cognitive decline are diagnosed, the quicker a treatment plan can be started to prevent any further damage to your brain.
[box type=”note”]About the Author: Lindsay is an anti-smoking advocate and the senior editor for EcigaretteReviewed.com, the largest e cigarette review and information website.[/box]