It’s a well-established fact that smoking can cause a great number of ailments and diseases. We know what it can do to your lungs, heart, and stomach. Research has also shown that cigarette smoke can affect your brain and nervous system in various ways.
However, most aren’t aware of how cigarette smoke also plays a significant role in causing seizures, especially among middle-aged adults and older smokers. Given the many dangers of cigarettes to the body, it’s highly advised that anyone with any symptoms of epilepsy and seizures should quit smoking for good.
In this post, we’ll take a deeper dive into how smoking and seizures are related based on data, possible causes, and more.
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Can Smoking Cause Seizures: Looking at the Data
Many scientists and health experts have looked into the correlation between smoking and seizures – and their studies illustrate how the habit is a huge contributing factor to the development and worsening of seizures.
In a study in Switzerland published in the Journal of Neurology, around 429 people with epilepsy aged around 16 and above who smoke at least one cigarette per day were found to have a higher risk of developing epilepsy and having seizures.
One other study also showed that smokers with epilepsy are at a higher risk of having seizure attacks than their non-smoking counterparts who also have the same health condition.
As we can see from these studies, it’s best for anyone with epilepsy, seizures, and various other nerve and brain-related issues to stop smoking for good.
The studies above discovered their results via questionnaires and patient evaluation, but as you can see, they did not explore how the chemicals in cigarette smoke impact your nervous system. Let’s take a look at them below.
Smoking’s Effect on Your Nerves
Nerve or neuropathic damage happens when you have a torn muscle after playing tennis for a long time or are sprung into action without any physical conditioning.
Smokers who have physically demanding jobs like manual lifting or rigging are at a higher risk of nerve damage than non-smokers. Since epilepsy can develop in anyone at any age, especially for people with a sedentary lifestyle, smoking exacerbates these symptoms.
Health experts found that one possible way cigarette smoke can cause nerve damage is by narrowing blood flow.
The lack of much-needed nutrients flowing in various areas of your body, especially your nervous system, can cause them to weaken and increase the risk of nerve damage.
The Dangerous Chemicals in Cigarette Smoke
We know that chemicals in cigarette smoke were never safe to consume to begin with. But, more on the specific side, the arsenic, ammonia, and acetone content of cigarette smoke can induce seizures.
Arsenic is a dangerous chemical that can cause skin lesions and increase the risk of cancer. On the other hand, ammonia can cause lung damage and possible severe preventable diseases when consumed. Lastly, acetone can cause menstrual changes in women and, if consumed in high dosages, induce a coma.
Can Quitting Smoking Cold Turkey Cause Seizures?
Quitting smoking has plenty of benefits, and if you quit smoking cold turkey while you’re on seizure medication, the benefits to your nervous system and reduction of incidents involving epilepsy and seizures can be significant.
However, we are sure that quitting smoking cold turkey is just the first step – not the solution – for managing your condition. We strongly suggest consulting a GP and having a friendly chat about how to manage your nicotine withdrawal and seizure-related symptoms as you try to quit smoking.
Can Secondhand Smoke Cause Seizures?
Most people are correct to assume that secondhand smoke can cause significant health issues to non-smokers, as it does to smokers themselves. It’s also right to assume that families with a history of epilepsy continuously inhaling secondhand smoke have a higher risk of developing seizures.
An indoor smoker will greatly harm their family, especially young children, with their habit. Pregnant women who smoke also put their unborn child at a higher risk of developing epilepsy.
The Benefits of Quitting Smoking
Undeniably, the best-case scenario for anyone experiening seizures is to quit smoking entirely.
Quitting smoking is a life-changing decision that significantly improves a motivated smoker’s physical and mental well-being. One notable advantage is the lower risk of seizures.
Let’s take a closer look below.
Lower Risk of Seizures
Given the data and possible reasons why smoking can cause seizures, it only goes to show that by quitting the habit, you’re doing yourself (and anyone else affected by the secondhand smoke) a great favour.
From improved lung function to enhanced cardiovascular health, quitting contributes to a healthier body overall. The respiratory system begins to repair itself, leading to better oxygen circulation and increased energy levels.
Better oxygenation also leads to better nerve health. In one study, hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been shown to accelerate nerve recovery in patients with upper-body nerve damage.
While you don’t necessarily need this therapy, it illustrates how better respiratory health leads to helpful effects for your nervous system.
Excellent Focus and Motivation
Breaking free from nicotine addiction also has profound effects on cognitive functions. Quitting smoking is associated with increased focus, sharper memory, and heightened motivation. As the mind clears from the fog of addiction, motivated smokers often find themselves more engaged, productive, and able to tackle tasks with newfound vigour.
Can Relieve Anxiety and Depression
Smoking and mental health are closely intertwined, and quitting can positively impact emotional well-being. Research suggests that quitting smoking can alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. As the body detoxifies from nicotine, you will experience a more stable and positive mood.
A Longer and Fuller Life
With reduced health risks, improved mental health, and increased overall well-being, people who quit smoking set themselves on a path to enjoy a richer and more fulfilling existence.
Based on data and the possible ways cigarette smoke can damage your body and your nervous system, anyone can assume that quitting smoking provides a huge trove of benefits to improving your nervous system’s condition and improving your overall health.
But we also understand that quitting smoking is a huge and difficult undertaking. However, that’s where we can help you in the best possible way.
Smokefree Clinic gives you access to many medically reviewed and trustworthy resources that can inform and aid you in your path to wellness, so have a look around!
If you’re ready to get started, Smokefree can connect you to Australian healthcare professionals who excel in helping patients quit smoking for good.