Researchers have recently discovered that smoking can damage both your brain health as well as your heart health. So the question is, does smoking increase your chances of memory loss later in life? A brand-new study by researchers in South Kora at the Seoul National University Hospital suggests that it does.
The South Korean researchers followed over 46,000 men from 2006 to 2013, ages 60 and older. They found that men who quit smoking and those that never smoked were far less likely to develop dementia than current smokers over the course of the study. According to the study, men who have never smoked were 19% less likely to develop dementia compared to current smokers. In addition, they were also 18% less likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. Those who decided to quit for more than 4 years were 14% less likely to develop dementia and 15% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s decease compared to those who are still smoking.
Brain Health Linked to Heart Health
During 2016, an estimated 16% of men and 13% of women in the U.S were smokers. Smoking can be linked to an increased risk of various heart diseases, lung diseases, cancers, and several other health conditions. Although more research is required, the negative impact of smoking on the blood vessels and heart might assist with the link between dementia and smoking.
Smoking can damage and tighten blood vessels which essentially restricts blood flow to the brain and therefore deprive the brain for the necessary oxygen and nutrients it requires. Smoking can also cause blood clots to develop in the brain, resulting in strokes. This leads to a certain type of dementia called vascular dementia. Furthermore, reactive compounds found in tobacco smoke can also cause oxidative stress leading to the damage of brain tissue.
Healthy Changes in Lifestyle
According to the Association of Alzheimer’s, avoiding tobacco smoke is one of the greatest steps you can take to lower the risk of developing dementia later on in life. It’s vitally important to eat a nutritious diet, ensure you get enough sleep, stay both mentally and physically active, and socialize with others. Studies have indicated that those who continue to learn brand-new things, such as taking up ballroom dancing, attending a class at a local college, or reading a new book every month is extremely beneficial to a healthy lifestyle. You will also need to stay physically active as this is also extremely beneficial to the health of your brain.
If you are a smoker and wish to kick the horrible habit, especially after reading this article, consider seeing a doctor to discuss various ways in which you can quit successfully. Your doctor will either give you prescription medications or recommend over the counter medications to assist with nicotine cravings. Your doctor can also suggest telephone, group, or individual counselling to assist you in managing the challenges of giving up the habit of smoking.