How Smoking Causes Serious Health Issues

How Smoking Causes Serious Health Issues

Smoking can cause serious health issues, including cancer, heart disease and lung disease. It also causes negative dental health effects, such as stained teeth and bad breath. It might be difficult to stop smoking, but it is possible. Consult a counselor or your physician for assistance. 

Serotonin

Serotonin, also known as 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), is a neurotransmitter with many effects throughout your body. It regulates mood, sleep, pain perception, blood vessel constriction, gastrointestinal function and more. It’s sometimes called your body’s natural “feel good” chemical because you feel relaxed and calm when you have normal serotonin levels. You might suffer from depression or other mental health conditions if your levels are low. Serotonin involves many parts of your brain, including the hypothalamus and hippocampus. It helps to regulate your mood and help you focus on positive things. Getting enough tryptophan can increase your serotonin levels. You’ll find this amino acid in many foods, such as turkey, yogurt, milk and nuts. However, it’s important to remember that serotonin cannot cross the blood-brain barrier, and your brain must make its own. Smoking can lower your serotonin levels, resulting in an unhappy and depressed mood. 

Nicotine

Nicotine is an extremely addictive and dangerous chemical from the tobacco plant. It is the primary chemical in cigarettes and other tobacco products. It is also available in non-tobacco forms such as electronic cigarettes (e-cigs). Nicotine quickly enters the bloodstream and stimulates adrenal glands to release epinephrine, which causes heart rate and blood pressure to increase. It also enables the brain’s reward circuits, mimicking the effects of cocaine and heroin. It is why many people find nicotine addictive, even at low doses. When a person smokes, nicotine continuously enters the brain and stimulates reward centers, causing them to become used to smoking. People find it tough to quit because nicotine eventually makes the brain need more and more adrenaline and dopamine to experience pleasure.

Studies have shown that regular nicotine use can cause several serious health issues, including lung and heart disease. It may impair your memory and focus, causing you to get agitated and furious. It can increase the risk of developing neuropsychiatric disorders like schizophrenia and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). That’s why it’s important to quit smoking to avoid the negative effects of tobacco on the brain. Several factors contribute to a person’s likelihood of becoming addicted to nicotine. These include genetics, the environment, and peer pressure. For example, adolescents with parents or peers who smoke are likelier to try it and continue smoking. Adolescents’ lack of mature cognitive control makes them more susceptible to social pressure and impulsive behavior. 

Dopamine

A neurotransmitter and hormone, dopamine transmits chemical signals from your brain’s nerve cells to the rest of your body. It’s important for movement, motivation and reward. Exposure to certain foods, drugs and activities can cause it to spike. These bursts of dopamine can create feelings of pleasure, euphoria and enhanced concentration and motivation. But this feeling can also make people compulsively seek out these substances and behaviors, known as addiction. Illegal drugs, like cocaine and heroin, are addictive partly because they trigger a massive dopamine dump into the brain. Getting that much dopamine at once is highly reinforcing, and users feel the need to repeat the drug to experience it again. This over-stimulation of the brain’s natural reward pathways can damage your ability to feel the same level of pleasure from other activities, such as exercise or spending time with loved ones. To get your dopamine levels back up to normal, eat more fruits and vegetables, avoid processed foods, and get enough sleep and rest. In addition, vitamin D and magnesium can help. Other ways to boost dopamine are expressing feelings, self-care, and spending time with others. Getting counseling can be helpful, too. A counselor can help you build healthy coping strategies to deal with the many withdrawal symptoms of quitting smoking.

Oxytocin

The hormone oxytocin is essential to attach and engage in prosocial conduct. The peptide also manages important life events like mating and childbirth, and it helps buffer stress by enhancing empathy, compassion, cooperation, and social synchrony. It’s even involved in breastfeeding, and stimulation of the nipple causes oxytocin to be released, triggering milk ejection. Oxytocin affects multiple brain circuitry, including the amygdala, which regulates fear and the fight-or-flight response. It may also modulate gamma-aminobutyric acidergic interneurons, which can alter the interpretation of social cues. It’s still unclear why the hormone affects males and females differently, but it may be related to underlying psychiatric conditions and early life experiences. One theory is that oxytocin promotes prosocial behaviors by enhancing trust and safety in social situations. But recent studies in humans and other lab animals suggest that it may be more complex than that: In some cases, oxytocin is elevated under social stress or pain, such as when a person feels isolated. Moreover, research on prairie voles suggests that externally administered oxytocin can mitigate these stress responses. It’s not yet known whether oxytocin can help people with social anxiety, depression, or autism, but it’s worth further investigation. If it can improve the perception of social cues, that could lead to new treatments for these disorders.

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