Effects of smoking on women’s health
- By Seema Verma
One of the most widespread addictions that our society faces today is that of smoking. Researchers suggest that 70% of adult smokers started smoking by age 18, and that includes women. Women face different life situations and deal with them differently than men.
The social norms defined by the society expect women to behave in a certain way, which puts emotional, physical, and mental pressure on them. They find themselves unable to express their anger, sadness, or even tiredness – thus stifling them.
While smoking has been known to cause cancer, lung and heart diseases, the effect of smoking and diseases caused to women are different, and more.
These are some of the health issues womenwho smoke are predisposed to:
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
RA is an inflammatory disease, chronic in nature. It is indicated by swelling and pain in the joints. Women who smoke have increased chances of getting RA.
Gum diseases start with bacteria on the teeth that get under the gums too. Smoking weakens the body’s immunity, thus leading to gum infections, causing bone and tooth loss.
Decreased Bone Density
Women have a lower bone density compared to men. And they lose bone mass at an accelerated rate as they age. Smoking further reduces the bone density, in turn increasing the risk of fractures.
Cataract is the clouding of the eye’s natural lens. It may also lead to blindness if not treated. Smoking doubles the chances of contracting cataract in women.
Researches have indicated that smoking women experience irregularity in periods or painful periods.
Smoking has been known to induce early menopause. The menopausal symptoms experienced by smoking women are also worse compared to those experienced by non-smoking women. For example, smoking women have more hot flashes. Recent studies also show that the combination of smoking and early menopause also reduces the life span among smoking women.
Women who smoke find it harder to conceive and maintain their pregnancy. They are at higher risk of having miscarriages. Smoking during pregnancy is harmful for the baby too, as it feeds carbon monoxide and other poisonous gases to baby. These gasses reduce the amount of vital oxygen that reaches the fetus, increasing the chances of incomplete development of the child before birth. Smoking also increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in babies of women who smoke during or after pregnancy.
Women suffer from depression more often than men. Statistics show that women are twice as likely to develop clinical depression as men and smoking adds to this risk of developing depression in women.
Women who smoke face much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than women who do not smoke.
Women who smoke and have gum diseases are more susceptible to stomach ulcers.
Besides damaging your body from within, smoking completely changes who you are. Wrinkles around the eyes and mouth, yellowed teeth and darkened lips that age you 20 years faster; a foul breath and a perpetual stench from your hair and skin make you less likeable. Smoking isn’t just about cancer and heart diseases, if you are in the rare few who can escape those, can you still be lucky enough to escape everything else?