Causes and Effects of Smoking
Smoking is considered as one of the most dangerous habits of an individual, especially for women and children eventually leading to several complications and causing grave health problems. There are numerous harmful as well as dangerous effects related with smoking. Carbon monoxide and nicotine in cigarette smoking has been related with several adverse impacts on lungs and heart. For example, in pregnant women it can eventually result in grave outcomes including; low birth weight babies, preterm delivery; premature rupture of membranes, placental abnormalities, and increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome. It is pertinent to mention that smoking causes vascular diseases that in turns affect flow of blood through the placenta. Smokers, in fact, look older than they actually are because the blood vessels are partially obstructed and calcified. The complications resulting from placental abruption are more common in smokers.
As mentioned above, smoking cigarette includes carbon monoxide. Since carbon monoxide is the replacement for oxygen in the blood during smoking, there are some fetuses that could attempt to compensate for this particular deprivation by creating extra red blood cells for the purpose of carrying extra oxygen. In some extraordinary cases, the blood gets thicker from the proliferation of such cells and ultimately cuts off the supply of blood to critical organs with fatal results.
Smoking causes a person's heart to run in overdrive and ultimately there is a shortage of oxygen in heart. Heart then has to work more for maintaining supply to the entire human body. The blood vessels are narrowed causing high blood pressure. Moreover, smoking impacts the cardiovascular system of human beings which also becomes a cause of high blood pressure or hypertension. The effect of high blood pressure is heart related diseases.
Cigarettes contain tobacco which, in turn, possesses nicotine and different other toxic chemicals. These chemicals cause blood vessel to be narrower than normal. When blood passes through these narrow vessels it creates extra pressure and results in hypertension having some serious effects on human body including heart strokes and paralysis. Cigarettes causes deterioration in quality of blood and increases cholesterol level, at times, also creates clots in the heart. The effect of increased level of cholesterol and creation of clots in blood is also heart attack as well as impacting other parts of body.
The combination of carbon monoxide and nicotine especially in cigarettes causes increase heart rate and strained heart blood vessels. It cuts off supply of oxygen to other parts of human body including hands and feet, and limbs. These causes have grave effects on entire human body and increase chances of death. In fact, hundreds of thousands of people die every year, around the world, due to smoking. Smoking is considered as a slow way of death. For example, it causes emphysema that slowly but continuously effects lungs. The effect of emphysema is repeated attacks of bronchitis, lung-diseases and heart failure.
Nicotine in blood causes shortage of oxygen in the human body which, in turn, exerts pressure on heart. Moreover, it blocks the arteries and causes damage to the blood vessels. The damage effects flow of blood and increase blood pressure. Chemicals present in tobacco causes damage to the lining of blood vessels that effects fats level and increase the risk of atheroma being a major cause of heart diseases.
Smoking during Pregnancy
Smoking limits, unfortunately, restricts the overall nutrition that a newly-born baby is able to receive. This can be specifically detrimental in late pregnancy when the brain of baby is swiftly developing. Furthermore, evidence suggests that nicotine has a direct adverse effect on developing nerve cells. Small doses, in animals, of nicotine injected into the mother in pregnancy normally result in brain malformations, learning problems, and poor functioning.
Studies have revealed the fact that women exposed to nicotine in pregnancy are more likely to show behavioral and learning problems years later. Babies born too small or prematurely for their gestational age may end up confronting learning problems their entire lives. Smokeless tobacco also includes nicotine. The quantity of nicotine absorbed is generally more than the quantity delivered by any cigarette. People, who chew or dip, receive about the similar quantity of nicotine as regular smokers.
The most dangerous substances causing substances in smokeless tobacco are known as 'tobacco-specific nitrosamines' that are found at levels hundred times higher compared with the nitrosamines allowed in beer, bacon, and different other foods. The juice resulted from the smokeless tobacco is, in fact, absorbed through the lining of the mouth. This creates white patches and sores that mostly lead to cancer of the mouth. Users of smokeless tobacco significantly increase their risk of other cancers. Other effects of smokeless tobacco use include stained teeth and filings, chronic bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease, tooth abrasion tooth loss, and loss of bone in the jaw. They could also have problems with high blood pressure and are exposed to the increased risk for heart disease.
Smokers have comparatively great risk of ectopic pregnancy- a pregnancy just outside the uterus- and also miscarriage. This risk exist more in smokers compared with non-smokers. It is most likely that smokers may develop other complications like more risk of infections. Discontinuing the habit of smoking during pregnancy is beneficial; however, ceasing right from the time it is planned or at the start of the pregnancy is considered wiser. Any pregnant women can be successful in giving up the habit of smoking; however, she may need sympathetic motivation-mental support and health.
Smoking during pregnancy causes certain complications such as detachment of placenta, bleeding, and premature birth. It produces effects not only on mother but also newly-born baby along with increased chances of abortion. Studies have shown that, in case of pregnant women, nicotine has more grave effects compared with heroine or similar drugs. Nicotine in smoking effects newly-born baby because blood is directly sent to the placenta through arteries and spans resulting from it can reduce the amount of oxygen received by the baby. Resultantly, chances of low-birth rate are more. Moreover, premature delivery can eventually lead to disastrous health conditions of both mother and baby, for example, cerebral palsy, metal retardation, and in some cases death.
I am the least athletic person you will ever meet.
From the time I was a child, I always dreaded fitness. In fact, some of my least favorite memories of elementary school are of "the run," the standard fitness test in which all of the children in any given grade would have to try to run a certain distance (determined by age) within a fixed amount of time.
I remember wanting so badly to beat whatever time was set as the "benchmark." Although not often, I would occasionally see this goal through - however, at a price. I remember, even at seven years old, my lungs would burn and my side would hurt when I ran. Although I was never technically diagnosed with asthma, for whatever reason, I visibly struggled more than most of my peers who were asthmatic.
Still, I was always a skinny child. And other than adopting a largely vegetarian diet at a very young age (the reasons why being a whole different story in and of itself), I never paid very much attention to what I ate. While compared to most children, my food intake was relatively good... I still ate a lot of junk. For example, despite having two medical professionals as parents, I was raised having sugary snacks every night before bedtime (such as two big chocolate chip cookies or a big slice of cheesecake).
One of my favorite transformation pictures, posing outside of the Hulk Roller Coaster at Universal Orlando, 4 months apart.
Yet, I was still thin when I hit puberty. I was thin when, for the first time in my life, my health became rocky.
One day in the ninth grade, I awoke to agonizing abdominal pain. Even though the pain was torturous, I didn't want to go to the Emergency Room, as my parents had both worked in ERs, and had told me stories of people who took advantage of using the ER when they really didn't have the need for it, and I was, consequently, scared of being "that person." A day later, the pain subsided. However, it came back the next month, before subsiding again... just to come back the month after that. Finally, during my third round of pain, my dad dragged me to the ER.
I had an ovarian torsion (three times around). Which, is basically as pleasant as it sounds. At the age of fifteen, I literally went into a form of organ failure. (Also - side note: if you EVER feel acute pain or if something doesn't seem right, please DO NOT hesitate to see a medical professional ASAP). I lost an ovary and a fallopian tube. Consequently, my OB-GYN immediately started me on hormonal birth control, as it can help prevent the ovarian cysts that often cause torsions (a preventative measure in order to keep the remaining side of my reproductive system healthy).
Being a late bloomer, I had only started puberty about a year and half prior to this occurrence, and now, in addition to puberty, my hormones were thrown out of whack. In the midst of this experience, I developed an unhealthy mindset - that my body, including my weight - was out of my control.
So, I continued to eat the way that I always had, ingesting cookies every night and eating at least two large portions at every. single. dinner. From my sophomore year through my senior year of high school, I steadily gained weight. And, just like with most people, the start of college certainly didn't make my eating habits any better.
I guess it's no shock that I eventually became overweight. I tried to ignore my weight gain until last spring break. Taking pictures with my friend, who had gotten into health and fitness a couple of years prior, I felt like the "fat friend," and even though now I am able to look back and see beauty in myself no matter my weight, and know that "fat" is FAR from synonymous with ugly, at the time - I felt ugly and gross.
That same spring break, I got my teeth whitened for the first time. Now, I know that you're probably thinking: what the heck does this have to do with health and fitness? Well - here's my answer; after getting my teeth whitened, I had to limit my diet to white, processed carbs for a couple of days so that I wouldn't stain my newly white teeth. While the food that I ate for these days was a far cry from health food, it was the first time that I came to the realization that I had the power to control what I ate.
After that spring break, for the first time in my life, I decided to make a change in my lifestyle. It started small, by simply not going up for seconds at dinner. I also downloaded an at-home workout app, working out only once every week or two.
Slowly, I started to workout more and more. After school let out, despite my continued hatred for cardio, I would spend 30 - 60 minutes a day on my mom's treadmill, trying to burn off calories. I didn't know how else to work out: as all my mom ever did was light cardio, my exchange sister also was a "cardio-bunny," and my dad had never been into fitness.
My transformation, from near the very start, to twenty pounds down!
I continued doing cardio and app-based workouts while on Walt's Pilgrimage this past spring, a Study in the States program through WMU's Lee Honors College that brings one to Chicago, Missouri, San Fransisco, and LA over the course of a single week in order to study the life of Walt Disney.
While the course was incredible, I felt so alone being the only one who headed to the hotel gym after long and intense days. Still, at this point I had shed upwards of ten pounds, and was determined to keep going.
After returning from the trip, I made a renewed effort to clean up my diet, focusing especially on protein intake, being a vegetarian. I began drinking protein shakes daily and eating protein bars consistently.
It was at this point in my journey that my friend told me about Grand Haven Fit Body Boot Camp (as GH is my hometown and was my summer residency last year). Still having very little clue what I was doing in the gym, I decided to give it a go. I still remember the first workout. It was HARD. But I came back, and kept coming back day after day. I had a "tribe" of workout friends to help get me through. We would joke around with the trainers about how much we "hated" the workouts, even though we all loved the way they made us feel afterwards. (Another quick side note to my current coaches: if I seem cynical, this is definitely why, I PROMISE that I am just being sarcastic!) And even though I was still an un-athletic, red, sweaty mess - by the time July rolled around, I was consistently doing two sessions a day at Boot Camp. I shed off the weight - twenty-five pounds by the time I left for summer school in the United Kingdom at the University of Cambridge at the beginning of August.
While I still occasionally worked out at Cambridge, I suspended my diet (with no regrets) in order to best experience my time abroad. (For me, personally, I want to experience the world through the food it has to offer, and sometimes this means giving up monitoring my diet for short periods of time. What I have found however, is that as long as I am consistent in my day to day life, it ultimately does not affect my progress, and helps me to maintain a healthy relationship with food.)
Coming back to Western in the fall, I was ready to get back into it. However, this time I didn't have my friends to workout with. Yet, I still had faith in the FBBC franchise, so I decided to sign up at the Kalamazoo location - alone. Even though I was intimidated, I walked into the building, signed up, and have attended regularly ever since.
By October, I had lost thirty pounds. I was back to being relatively thin. My confidence was up. Soon after, I began to try other fitness classes. And this past spring break, I began to finally workout using machines and weights. I am planning to start weight training more often. I also have an appointment with a nutritionist to revamp my diet, as now, after weight-loss, I am ready to see my body's full potential. What it is capable of. What I am capable of. (However, FBBC still holds a large place in my heart for the instrumental role that they played in my weight-loss, and I plan on continuing to attend sessions there.)
Despite my success, I would still get discouraged. Even though I had an overall trend of weight loss, I would occasionally gain a little weight instead of losing weight between individual weigh-ins. In addition to this, even as I did lose weight, like many girls, I began to see attributes that I liked about myself (to be blunt - such as my breasts and booty) shrink before my very eyes. To this day, I still get discouraged. Over spring break, I literally broke down crying because I haven't improved - only maintained, since October. Some days, my body confidence is through the roof and all I want to do is take bikini pictures on the beach. Other days, I still feel "blah" about my body, like it's not good enough and there's so much more that I can achieve. I still compare myself to others, even though I know that I shouldn't.
My one year transformation! March 2017 - March 2018! Thirty pounds down and determined to continue to tone up in the next several months!
My journey, just like anyone else who has had a journey in health and fitness - is ongoing. It's a constant process, full of failures successes, and, quite literally - sweat and tears.
Recently, after a Fit Body Boot Camp session, the coaches asked our group why we were there. I remember thinking "Man, I could write a book on why I'm here!" but I simply answered: "It improves my mental well-being and positive thoughts," which wasn't a lie. It does. After a workout, I am often feeling relatively confident and am less prone to the anxious and paranoid thoughts that often cloud my brain.
But it's so much more than that. I started to workout to lose weight that I put on due to both medical reasons that were out of my control and poor personal choices that were completely within my control. However, I now feel empowered by working out and eating healthy. I feel like, ultimately, I have taken back the power that I thought I lost when I started gaining weight.
After that session, being the emotional person I am, I went back to my car and cried. I cried for myself and the roller coaster of a journey that I have been on. I cried for everyone else in that building and how they found themselves there. I cried because I saw so many others who were taking back power that they once felt had been taken away from them.
I am still the least athletic person you will ever meet, but you know what? Now, I am proud of it. Because even though I am not a natural athlete, I make an effort, nearly every day, to be stronger, both physically and mentally, than the day before. To me, this is what matters the most.
My transformation from day 1 of my lifestyle change... to (roughly) day number 365!