Healthy Living

The Correlation Between Cigarettes and Multiple Sclerosis

cigarettes and multiple sclerosis

The Correlation Between Cigarettes and Multiple Sclerosis

For decades now, people have been aware of the many negative side effects of smoking. Cigarettes have thousands of chemicals and carcinogens packed inside their small cylinders and are responsible for many harmful diseases. Common illnesses associated with smoking are COPD, emphysema, cancers of the lungs, mouth, and throat, and heart disease. Along with their disease-causing nature, cigarettes also put smokers and anyone exposed to second-hand smoke at risk for hundreds of other diseases. Cigarettes can not only cause disease, but they even exacerbate most pre-existing illnesses and diseases. 

Recent years have seen people becoming more aware of the ill effects of smoking as well as the medical conditions it can cause. There are thousands of chemicals and carcinogens present in cigarettes, and for those who suffer from multiple sclerosis, or MS, cigarettes are known to have a major impact on their overall health. There is still a great deal of speculation about the existence of the disease itself; many who are diagnosed with MS do not have a genetic link. However, researchers do know that one of the factors that can have a negative effect on this medical condition is the use of cigarettes. One study found that the condition is worsened due to smoking, and at the same time, it can also put a healthy individual at an increased risk of developing the disease. The study confirmed that smoking can further the progression of this condition. MS and cigarettes are both known to alter the chemicals present in the brain. Nicotine, along with other chemicals, has a damaging, long-lasting negative impact on the brain, its cells, and the nerves as well. Similarly, MS also hurts the brain by attacking and damaging the myelin sheath, thereby causing the brain to start healing and create scar tissue. The progression of MS is caused by damage to the myelin sheath, so cigarette use doubles the already present damage. The chemicals that enter your body while smoking try to alter the healing process.

In general, those who have MS should not smoke. There are multiple types of MS, and they are clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing remitting MS, primary progressive MS, and secondary progressive MS. All of these forms are affected by smoking. There is no one factor that can singlehandedly lead to the occurrence of MS. It requires a combination of factors that make an individual more susceptible to developing the disease. Among the unknown causes, it is said that being a native of the northeast increases one’s risk of getting MS. Those who suffer from the disease commonly have a vitamin D deficiency, which is an important nutrient we get from the sun, and those who live in the northeastern part of the U.S. lack sufficient sunlight to get the requisite amount of this vitamin. Women are also at a greater risk of getting MS than men, and having a parent or sibling with the disease also increases the risk. So, in terms of MS, it is important to keep in mind that there is no single trigger for its development, and there has not been enough research done concerning its cause.

With all of this in mind, individuals with MS should find ways to quit smoking, since it would greatly benefit their overall health.