Wow. This is not good news for smokers. Not only do they have to worry about the possibility of cardiovascular disease, cancer, hypertension, shortness of breath, bad breath, and yellow teeth, but...
A new study out of the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam points to a direct connection between smoking and dementia. The study followed about 7,000 people age 55 and older for seven years. The results are quite telling.
The study looked at two groups of people. Those predisposed to Alzheimer's. These are individuals who possess a gene known as APOE4. They are already at an increased risk of developing dementia, and the study showed smoking did not add to that risk.
But, those without the APOE4 gene, entering the study with a normal risk level, were terrifically impacted. In this group, smoking increased the risk of developing Alzheimer's by 70%. That's a huge number.
Researchers theorize the increased risk may be the result of cardiovascular disease, possibly leading smokers to experience small strokes. The cumulative effect of the small strokes may be responsible for the development of Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia. Or, the increased risk could be due to a process known as oxidative stress. This is a process which, through chemical changes that damage the cells, leads to hardening of the arteries.
So, once again the warning has been issued: Light up at your own risk - each puff brings you one step closer to a permanent state of physical and mental "lights out."To read more about the study, see this from Reuters. To find resources to help you quit smoking, see this from smokefree.gov, or this from Quitnet.