Smoking is a dangerous habit that can affect your overall health in many ways. The life expectancy for smokers is around ten years shorter than for nonsmokers. If you have asthma, smoking can be even more dangerous. It’s important to understand the risks associated with asthma and cigarettes and the best methods for quitting to help prevent your asthma from worsening.
5 Risks of Smoking With Asthma
Asthma is a condition in which the airways become inflamed and narrow due to triggers such as allergens, pollution, or cold air. There are several causes of asthma. Unfortunately, smoking can be a major one. If you are diagnosed with asthma, it is crucial to understand the risks of smoking and take steps to quit. Here are five major risks associated with smoking and asthma:
1. Increased Inflammation
It is common for smokers to have chronic inflammation in the airways. This can worsen asthma symptoms. When you inhale cigarette smoke, it irritates the lining of the airways and causes the body to release inflammatory chemicals. This inflammation may make breathing difficult, leading to wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. Quitting smoking reduces inflammation in the airways, which could improve overall health outcomes for individuals with asthma.
2. Reduced Lung Function
Smoking can cause a decline in lung function, making it harder to breathe and increasing the severity of asthma symptoms. Cigarette smoke contains harmful chemicals that can damage the delicate tissues in the lungs, including the air sacs and bronchial tubes. This damage may reduce the amount of air the lungs can hold and decrease the amount of oxygen transported to the body’s tissues.
Over time, smoking can also cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a progressive lung disease that makes breathing difficult. COPD can worsen asthma symptoms and increase the risk of respiratory infections, hospitalization, and even death.
3. Increased Frequency of Asthma Attacks
Smoking can trigger asthma attacks, making them more frequent and severe. The risk of an asthma attack increases with the number of cigarettes smoked each day. Smoking can also make it harder to control asthma symptoms with medication. This is because cigarette smoke may interfere with the effectiveness of asthma medications, making them less effective at preventing and relieving asthma symptoms.
4. Greater Risk of Respiratory Infections
Cigarette use may increase the risk of developing respiratory infections, such as bronchitis and pneumonia. These infections can worsen asthma symptoms and make it harder to breathe. Moreover, smoking weakens the immune system, making it more difficult to fight off respiratory infections. This can be particularly problematic for those with asthma, who are already more susceptible to respiratory infections.
5. Worsening of Other Health Conditions
Smoking does more than worsen asthma symptoms. It can also exacerbate other health conditions. People who smoke are more likely to have a stroke, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. Smoking can also worsen other chronic conditions, such as diabetes, emphysema, depression, and allergies. Allergies and asthma are closely related, and many people with asthma also have allergies. Smoking can exacerbate allergies, making asthma symptoms worse.
Tips to Help You Quit Smoking
Quitting smoking is no easy feat, but it is possible with the right support and resources. When you smoke, nicotine is rapidly delivered to the brain. Nicotine is a highly addictive substance that stimulates the reward centers in the brain. Once nicotine is removed from the body, people can experience withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. This can make it difficult to quit smoking. To help you on your smoke-free journey, here are five tips for quitting:
1. Set a Quit Date
Choose a date within the next few weeks to quit smoking. Make sure it’s a date that works well for you and doesn’t coincide with any stressful events. Once you have the date set, mark it on your calendar and make a commitment to yourself to stick with it.
2. Identify Your Triggers
Think about what situations or emotions make you want to smoke. Common triggers include stress, boredom, and social situations. After you identify your triggers, you can develop strategies to avoid or cope with them.
3. Decide on a Quit Method
There are several ways to quit smoking, including cold turkey, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), and prescription medications. Talk to your healthcare provider to decide which method is best for you.
4. Create a Support System
Tell your family, friends, and coworkers you want to quit smoking and ask for their support. You may also want to consider joining a support group or seeking counseling. There are also many online resources to help you on your journey to quit smoking.
5. Develop Coping Strategies
Nicotine withdrawal can be challenging. Therefore, having coping strategies in place is paramount to successfully quitting smoking. These may include deep breathing exercises, drinking water, meditation, or engaging in physical activity.
By making a plan to quit smoking, you can increase your chances of success and improve your overall health. Remember, it’s normal to have occasional slip-ups when trying to quit smoking. If you do, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, use it as an opportunity to learn and come back stronger. Each day without cigarettes is one step closer to being smoke-free.
Breathe Easier With Northeast Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
Take control of your asthma and breathe easier with Northeast Allergy. Our experienced team provides personalized diagnosis, asthma treatment, and management to improve your lung function and quality of life. Don’t let asthma control you any longer. Book an appointment with Northeast Allergy today and take the first step toward better health.