Dried tobacco leaves mixed with fragrances and flavors are used to make cigarettes and cigars. The smoke produced by burning these tobacco products contains many complex chemicals, almost 7000 in number, out of which 60 are known carcinogens. Some of the chemicals in the tobacco smoke include cyanide, benzene, formaldehyde, methanol, acetylene and ammonia.
Tobacco smoke also consists of gases such as carbon monoxide. It has nicotine which is not only addictive, and also has some severe effects on the vital organs of people. You may be surprised to know that tobacco leaves contains radioactive substances as well.
Smoking after cancer surgery will lead to complications which can prove to be fatal in some cases. Doctors strongly recommend stopping smoking at least 8 weeks before surgery. In addition to general health risks involved in smoking, it also introduces complications during and after surgery.
Below are some of the high risks associated with smoking after surgery:
- Increases the lung and heart complications after surgery.
- Increases the risk of the post-operative infections.
- Delays wound healing.
- Leads to likelihood of readmission in hospital.
- Delays discharge from hospital.
- Forms blood clots in veins.
- Starves the heart of oxygen.
- Impair healing of bones, skin and wounds.
- Changes the breakdown of certain drugs in the body.
Nicotine in cigarette smoke affects the nervous system and increases the heart rate and blood pressure. Carbon monoxide in the cigarettes competes for oxygen in the blood, making it harder for the heart and the body to get the much needed oxygen. The chemicals in cigarettes also make the blood in veinsthicker, stickier, and more likely to clot.
Smoking affects lungs by increasing mucus in the lungs, making the airways narrower, increasing the possibility of collapse of air sacs and airways in lungs. Tobacco smoke damages the lining of the lungs and reduces its ability to clear waste particles and mucus secretions which then results in pneumonia.
Smoking reduces the rate of healing, where vascular flap tissue to repair the wound is used. Smokers have twice as much risk of the flap dying than nonsmokers.Smoking makes the flap tissue die and stops the wound from healing.
Smoking changes the immune system, putting the smoker at a higher risk for chest and wound infections. It also increases the risk of new scars opening up and bad scarring.
According to a study reported in Health magazine, published in the August issue of Annals of Health, smokers have higher risk of complications after colon surgery.
The study was conducted in the US by researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York. They analyzed the data collected from 47000 patients who had gone through major non-emergency colorectal surgery. It was found that smoking raised the risk of complications after surgery such as infections and pneumonia by 30%.
Dr. Fergal Fleming, an assistant professor in the department of surgery said in a University news release that they know that many patients do not take this opportunity to quit smoking or join smoking cessation program before surgery. They would like to find out what motivates these patients, how to get them interested in taking care of themselves, he added.
The researchers concluded that after taking various factors into account, current smokers had the highest risk of pneumonia than those who had stopped smoking before surgery, and they required additional surgery and had a much longer stay in the hospital.The study also found that in addition to all around higher risk, the risk of death was also highest among current smokers.
Another study at the University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark to find out the effect of smoking on surgery by Moller A M and his team found that smoking creates complications after surgery, which prolongs recovery. It was found that smokers had 80% more likelihood of having a heart attack, and 38% aggravated risk of death.
Research has shown that smoking affects recovery adversely. It slows wound healing, increases the risk of side effects from radiation and increases risk of death out of complications arising out of post-operative infections.
Author Bio : Sameer Gupta is a medical writer who writes well-researched, in-depth cancer articles which provide relevant information to help patients combat the deadly disease. Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) prides in providing the best cancer treatment solutions to patients who have endured to various cancer types. With cancer centers in Philadelphia, Tulsa, Chicago, Newnan etc., CTCA aims at providing the best treatment options to cancer patients.
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