Smoking Ups Alzheimer’s Risk By 50 Percent

According to a new Dutch study people over the age of 55 who are smokers put themselves at a far greater risk of developing dementia than people who do not smoke. The researchers from the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam suggest the level of risk is 50% higher for smokers developing diseases such as Alzheimer’s than for nonsmokers.The researchers led by Dr. Monique Breteler conducted a study involving almost 7,000 people age 55 and older for an average of seven years.

During the study period 706 of the participants developed dementia and it was shown that current smokers at the time of the study were 50 percent more likely to develop dementia than people who had never smoked or past smokers.

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According to the studies, decrease in mental health of the elderly people is worse among smokers. Smokers are twice as likely as those to develop dementia associated with Alzheimer’s than who never smoked.

Stop smoking is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular problems, lung cancer, and other cancers. Past smokers are at less risk of Alzheimer’s than current smokers.

Exposing to secondhand smoke damages the blood vessels. It boosts blood levels of free radicals and damages the blood vessels, elevates blood pressure and is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. The cell damage in the blood vessels can lead to hardening of arteries. Damage to blood vessels can raise the risk of dementia.

Apart from Alzheimer’s due to smoking, you can get heart attack, lung cancer, peptic ulcer, gum disease, blindness, lupus, colic, colon cancer, mouth ulcers, wrinkles, depression and breast cancer.

Nicotine that is present in cigarette smoke enhances cognitive function in people with Alzheimer’s. Nicotine in cigarettes enters the blood stream through mucus membranes which line the mouth or nose and even through the skin. Nicotine in the smoke affects the entire body and acts directly on the heart to change heart rate and blood pressure.

The greater the number of cigarettes smoked and the longer the person had been a smoker for, the greater the decrease in cognitive function. When smoking is combined with alcohol, the brain damage is greater than smoking alone.

When the person stops smoking, his risks for health issues like heart attack, lung infection, colon cancer and Alzheimer’s disease can be decreased. When a person stops smoking, he is reducing the health risks of a person due to secondhand smoke.