Being very slow on the uptake, for which I blame multiple sclerosis. It occurred to me that there were some very real smoking implications with this filthy habit and my development of Multiple Sclerosis.
Slow in making this realisation and discovering the evidence that I have been so. Let’s face it, nearly 25 years is a long learning curve.
It occurred to me the other day, while I was smoking a cigarette. That I began smoking when I first met my wife. My first MS symptoms began a few years later. Are these smoking implications just a coincidence or am I being paranoid? I know that smoking is a very bad idea. But, smoking is a very addictive habit. I also know, from experience, that multiple sclerosis can impair cognitive function.
In my own defence, I spoke with my neurologist many years ago. When I asked about the risks of smoking, he informed me “I can give you dozens of reasons to stop smoking but, MS is NOT one of them”.
I now think my neurologist was WRONG.
Why do I now think that smoking is bad for multiple sclerosis? Apart from the apparent link between my smoking habit and the development of this debilitating condition. I have been conducting some research into the subject.
In addition, I have spent several periods not smoking. And on each occasion, my MS symptoms lessened considerably.
So, why do I continue to smoke? It is a filthy habit. A fact I don’t deny. But, it is highly addictive and I clearly have an addictive personality.
A Wake Up Call
Again, in my own defence, I don’t smoke a lot. On a heavy smoking day, I might have six or seven cigarettes.
But, Having made the timeline connection, I had to take the situation much more seriously. Was my multiple sclerosis self-inflicted? This was not the first time I had asked that question of myself.
When I began researching the benefits of diet for a chronic illness I purchased a copy of the book The Wahls Protocol. This extols the health benefits of a good well-balanced diet. At this stage, I thought the MS was self-inflicted because I had not been feeding my mitochondria the correct nutrition.
Furthermore, I do not believe multiple sclerosis just happens. There has to be a cause for the body to start malfunctioning.
I had been thinking that my diet had somehow contributed to the onset of multiple sclerosis. And, I still think diet has a major role to play in managing the condition.
However, smoking is now the main suspect in identifying the underlying cause. It could not be a coincidence that my MS symptoms began only a year or two after I started smoking.
Another main instruction from the Wahls Protocol was to reduce the toxins in your body. We are all exposed to a certain level of toxins. Both in our diet and from the environment.
Cigarette smoke contains many toxins. These are readily avoidable if we stop smoking. Note to self; it is time to kick the habit. These smoking implications are real and significant.
The Supporting Evidence
Some irrefutable evidence is provided by The National Multiple Sclerosis Society. They provide a fairly damning account of the hazards of smoking to the unfortunate MSer.
Healthline also has an article indicating that Smoking may Speed Multiple Sclerosis Progression.
Furthermore, the VeryWell website reports that cigarettes may worsen or even increase the risk of MS. All very sobering reading.
I think if I had any doubts about quitting, they have just been removed.
Smoking is a real health risk to everyone. And it is not just the danger of developing lung cancer, it can also be a risk of developing multiple sclerosis.
So, if you have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and you smoke you MUST quit. Regardless of what anyone else, including your neurologist, might say to the contrary.
The Smoking Implications
There are many factors thought to be involved if you have developed MS. So, I began to think about the title of this post:? Smoking Implications with Chronic Illness?
I was referring to the realisation of the coincidence of my starting to smoke at roughly the same time as I started to suffer MS symptoms.
However, multiple sclerosis is itself, all about coincidences.
- Are you aged between 30 and 60
- Are you female
- Do you have a history of MS in your family
- Do you live in a temperate climate
- Have you suffered a viral infection
These are all factors thought to increase the likelihood of developing multiple sclerosis.
I was of the wrong gender. My age matched the criteria. As a child, I had suffered from the usual viruses.
We had a family history of neurological illness and I live in a temperate climate. The odds had been stacked against me! Oh, and I smoked.
Note: I closed with the word smoked. Because, as of now, I no longer smoke.
The Danger of Viral Infection
It is currently January 2018 and there have been a number of influenza outbreaks in the UK. I did not escape this current flu infection.
Just before Christmas, both my wife and I succumbed to what our GP called a chest infection. The GP prescribed me a course of antibiotics, I guess because of my MS.
I do not believe this infection had anything to do with smoking. But, because it was significant from the MS perspective.
I concluded that I must have become infected with influenza. Because I had become very ill with fever and dizziness.
My wife recovered in two or three weeks. However, it hit me much harder and I took nearly eight of nine weeks to fight it off fully.
Subsequently, I discovered that the strain of influenza I had contracted, was not the expected strain. And the inoculation I had received was the wrong one.
The Addictive Personality
What does it mean to have an addictive personality? It’s not something we talk about in our society often, especially not when it comes to addiction. We don’t like the idea that people might be addicted to things, except of course, when it comes to drugs and alcohol. This is a serious issue and one that can have a big impact on you if you have an addictive personality.
Addiction is a scary thing. One moment you’re a normal person, the next you’re on the slippery slope of active addictive behaviour. When does an addiction begin? How can you tell if you have one? How do you know if you’re addicted to something? And how do you use the science of psychology to prevent addictive behaviour?
It means that you have a psychological condition that makes it hard to stop doing certain things. It means you’re more likely to become dependent on addictive substances and behaviours. But, does it mean that your brain is wired differently from other people’s?