According to new research, smoking can significantly raise the risk for the devastating brain condition, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). This article examines the research on the possibility of smoking leading to ALS.
What Is ALS?
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a nervous system disease that weakens your muscles and affects your ability to function physically. It’s a progressive, fatal illness that kills the nerves controlling your muscles and leads to weakness and paralysis.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ALS affects an estimated 31,000 Americans each year, with about 5,000 new cases diagnosed annually. The cause of ALS is unknown, and its risk factors are still unclear.
Is There A Connection Between Smoking and ALS?
In their new research, a South Korean team examined the data from 32 studies for possible connections between smoking and ALS. They discovered that people who smoked had a 12% higher chance of developing ALS compared to those who hadn’t, with risks going higher if the person was a current smoker.
The researchers said one of their most significant discoveries was the dose-response analysis showing an inverted U-shaped curve. They also said this curve meant that the risk associated with smoking was not a linear progression. Instead, it peaks and starts to fall, suggesting that the intensity of smoking influences the ALS risk.
Are There Other Risk Factors?
The study researchers believe that gender could also play a role. According to the study, the connection between smoking and ALS appeared stronger for women smokers, who had a 20% higher chance for the disease than women who hadn’t smoked. This added risk also rose to 25% after considering other possible risk factors.
Tips For Quitting Smoking
The researchers said quitting smoking is crucial as it can reduce your chances of experiencing ALS. Here are some tips to quit smoking:
Prepare To Go “Cold Turkey”
Cutting smoking out of your life goes beyond quitting cigarettes, as your brain is already addicted to nicotine. You need to consult your doctor for some help. You can also take quit-smoking classes, use medications, get counseling, and explore hypnosis.
Consider Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Nicotine withdrawal can give you headaches, drain your energy, and affect your mood when you quit smoking. You can curb this urge with nicotine replacement therapy techniques, such as nicotine gum and patches.
Learn About Prescription Pills
Medications can limit your cravings and make smoking less satisfying if you end up getting a cigarette. Other drugs can ease your withdrawal symptoms, such as depression and issues with concentration.
Quitting smoking can reduce your ALS development risk. You can consult your doctor on ways to deal with your nicotine cravings and avoid smoking triggers.