Martha Jefferson Healthwise--November 14th

Dr. Alexander Schult, a Pulmonologist from Martha Jefferson Hospital, explains the effects of smoking. First, he explains that the reason it is so hard to quit smoking is that the brain has gotten emotionally and physically dependent on nicotine to feel "normal". When the substance is removed just as for the alcoholic brain - there is a change in the brain cells and in the emotions which leads to the dreaded "cravings"
We smoked to fit in, be cool, give ourselves a reward, a break and we smoked because we had to. The addiction brings us to a point where we cannot live with it (physical disease) and not without it (addiction). This is a great conflict and source of guilt, shame and insecurity

Dr. Schult explains further some of the incentives and road blocks in quitting smoking. The incentives are many some that are short term and some that are long term. Incentives include: a feeling of being in control, increased lung capacity, being more alert mentally and being healthier overall. Some of the road blocks are a fear of failure, weight gain, cravings, it won't make a difference - "complacency".

Dr. Schult shares some ways to quit. He explains, although there is a way to quit for everyone, it is different for each smoker. Some may quit "cold turkey", some may relapse 3-4 times which is not uncommon before quitting completely. Some use medications and some use acupuncture, hypnosis.

Some of the dangers most people have heard about are heart disease and lung cancer, but it is also clear that smoking causes impotence for men and sagging skin for women, bladder and stomach cancers, shortness of breath as a result of lung destruction. Lastly, it harmfully affects those around us, particularly children who develop asthma and ear infections more commonly


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