Cigarette smoking and multiple sclerosis — scary stuff February 12, 2012Posted by Rebecca Hoover in Smoking - why it is important to quit to avoid MS and disability.
Tags: Cigarettes, MS, Multiple Sclerosis, Smoking
Unfortunately, cigarette smoking seems to be part of the multiple sclerosis (MS) picture for some patients. Studies have shown that cigarette smoking increases the chances of getting MS and seems to make MS worse. If you smoke, it is important to quit.
The amount by which cigarette smoking increases the likelihood of getting multiple sclerosis is not small. One study showed that smoking increases by the chances of getting multiple sclerosis by 27 percent. A related issue is found in another study showing that it is more difficult for doctors to diagnose MS in smokers so a delayed diagnosis leads to unnecessary delays in treatment. Most frightening, even children who are exposed to second hand smoke are more likely to develop MS.
For those who already have MS, smoking is also scary. The studies show that smoking increases the amount of disability in MS and seems to encourage the onset of progressive multiple sclerosis from which there is no relapses.
The increases in disability for smokers with MS vary with the amount smoked. Those who smoke less than one pack a day become more disabled than nonsmokers and heavy smokers of two or more packs per day become the most disabled of all. An earlier study showed that, in addition to the general increase in disability among smokers with MS, smoking even causes a temporary decrease in motor functions after a cigarette is smoked.
When it comes to MS, smoking is scary. If you do smoke, this is the time to promise yourself you will free yourself from this expensive and unhealthy habit. You owe it to yourself and your family, especially the children in your family, to protect yourself and others from harmful effects of smoking. Also, please remember that if you do not smoke, it is important to avoid second hand smoke.
For an excellent study summarizing some of the research on smoking and MS, see “Smoking: effects on multiple sclerosis susceptibility and disease progression” by Dean M. Wingerchuk. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3251901/?tool=pubmed
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Please remember to consult with your doctors about how to stay as healthy as possible. Nothing here should be interpreted as medical advice. Instead, please use the information you find here in your discussions with your doctor.
Copyright 2009 Rebecca Hoover