Dangerous symptoms in smokers and a check-up that will save your life

Health Tips

Smoking is out of fashion

In recent years, the state has done a lot to reduce the popularity and availability of smoking. Many of us remember how unusual it was to ban smoking in public places a few years ago. After all, they smoked in cafes and restaurants – this did not surprise anyone. Now it seems crazy. Since June 1, 2013, smoking has been banned in stadiums, universities, hospitals, cafes, restaurants, shops, elevators, airplanes, and airports. Over the past few years, a pack of cigarettes (any) has risen in price several times, tobacco products are not publicly available on store windows, you will not see tobacco advertising on TV and in the press. And each package of cigarettes is decorated with a frightening image of the affected human organs: heart, lungs, larynx. According to experts, the anti-tobacco policy will definitely bear fruit, it’s just not happening as fast as we would like. Let’s not discount the popularity of a healthy lifestyle: people who started playing sports because it has become fashionable are definitely growing. A healthy lifestyle does not fit with smoking.

The campaign of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation does not plan to reduce turnover, on the contrary, their goal is to achieve a ban on smoking at public transport stops, at a distance of three meters from the entrances to shopping centers, in underground passages, in private vehicles in the presence of children.

We constantly hear about the dangers of tobacco smoke, which contains more than seven thousand chemicals, of which at least 250 are frankly harmful and 70 proven carcinogens. Among the latter are carbon monoxide, nicotine, hydrogen cyanide, acrolein, nitrogen dioxide and several others. Not only heavy or former smokers suffer the consequences of smoking, but also non-smokers – those who are exposed to second-hand smoke. For example, when your neighbor regularly smokes on the balcony and you inhale the smoke penetrating through the open window.

Symptoms to watch out for

The main danger of smoking is a rapidly developing addiction. More than 90% of people who smoke have tried to quit at some point, but most of them have failed. Some smokers are switching to electronic cigarettes, mini hookahs, believing that this form is safer. However, experts confidently say that this is not so. Vape liquids (electronic cigarettes) contain toxic substances: phenols; cancer-causing formaldehyde and lead. And when heated, potentially carcinogenic substances are released.

We mentioned above that 90% of patients with lung cancer are smokers. There are still 10% who did not smoke, but acquired this diagnosis for a number of other reasons, which include heredity, work in hazardous industries, and living in environmentally polluted areas for more than one year. It has also been proven that smoking leads to the development of chronic bronchitis and emphysema. The good news is that by quitting smoking, a person’s risk of getting lung cancer is reduced – after ten years, the probability reaches the same level of risk as a non-smoker. So quitting smoking and skiing is never bad.

Alas, cancer in the early stages is often asymptomatic. Among the signs that you need to pay attention to, doctors distinguish shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, sputum. With such symptoms, you should immediately rush to the doctor.

Expert opinion: surveys for smokers

“The link between lung cancer and smoking has long been documented. This has been proven more than 40 years ago, when data were obtained from large epidemiological studies that lasted for 10-20 years. After conducting these studies, they saw that the connection between smoking and the development of many oncological diseases, including lung cancer, exists. The most common disease among smokers is lung cancer. Unfortunately, 9 out of 10 cases occur in smokers and only 1 in 10 in people who don’t smoke.

It cannot be said that modern cigarettes and tobacco are less harmful. It is believed that in the first place, inhalation of any smoke will increase the risk of lung diseases such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and, as an outcome, lung cancer. Yes, ever since the data on the real risk of smoking appeared, there has been a systematic struggle around the world, which includes educating the public about the dangers of smoking and raising the price of tobacco products. This has led to a decline in tobacco consumption in many developed countries. For example, in Australia only 20% of adults smoke. This figure was immediately reflected in a decrease in the incidence of lung cancer.

Separately, I will say about electronic cigarettes. They cannot be useful by definition. All cigarettes are harmful to some extent, but of course the largest studies have been done on regular cigarette smokers, which are the majority. As a doctor, I always recommend giving up any cigarettes. If you continue to smoke, then do not forget to undergo a series of examinations to monitor your health. According to the recommendations of experts, all smokers should undergo a study in the form of:

  • low-dose computed tomography of the lungs for the purpose of early diagnosis of lung cancer.

  • the second study that already evaluates lung function is spirometry, that is, the measurement of volume and speed of breathing.”

Lung cancer and 40 other organs

“A direct link to an increased risk of developing lung cancer in smokers has been proven by numerous studies. At the same time, after 20 years of smoking, the risk of developing lung cancer increases 14 times, compared with the appearance of the disease in those who do not smoke. The danger lies in the carcinogenic substances contained in tobacco smoke. They are potentially dangerous to the human body, and their exposure increases the likelihood of the appearance and development of a cancerous tumor.

I will add that in addition to lung cancer, smoking is the cause of cancer of another 40 organs – from the kidneys to the pancreas. And the annual increase in the incidence is still 5-8% per year. Every year, more than 1,000,000 new cases of lung cancer are registered worldwide, of which 60,000 are in Russia. To reduce the percentage of smokers, it is necessary to continue to conduct an anti-tobacco campaign at the state level, to promote a healthy lifestyle, and to speak more often in the media about the dangers of smoking. Speaking about the health check-up of smokers, I will single out an integrated approach: programs for the annual scheduled preventive examination of the population (dispanserization) are perfect for this purpose. After all, not only the lungs, but also the gastrointestinal tract, and the whole body of a smoker requires attention.

Photo: Pexels.com, Depositphotos.com

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