Friday, July 10, 2009

Have been wondering for some time now whether my mum letting me smoke helped contribute to my getting MS.

Richie sent me a link to Jen's blog MS Strength

It is very interesting and it makes sense that apart from the risk of cancer there is also a risk of damage to the immune system.

Scary to think smoking can increase the possibility of getting MS, I bet that would make it a lot less of a sexy thing to do.

Think that would take the excitement out of smoking unless you have a thing about dicing with death you would not want to carry on smoking.

I found this online:

‘’Cigarette smoking and the risk for MS.
Researchers studied the relationship between cigarette smoking and the risk for developing MS in 22,312 people between the ages of 40 and 47 living in Hordaland, Norway. Information was gathered by using questionnaires and a physical examination. Detailed information about smoking included current and previous smoking history and the age smoking started.

There were 87 people who reported having MS. All patients with MS who were current smokers and most who had smoked in the past had started smoking before they developed MS.

Most people started smoking about 15 years before they developed MS. The risk for developing MS was nearly twice as high in people who currently smoked or had ever smoked than in nonsmokers. When men and women were evaluated separately, the risk for developing MS was nearly three times greater for men and one and a half times greater for women who smoked than in nonsmokers. Smoking also increased the risk for heart attacks, angina, and asthma for both men and women.

How could smoking increase the risk for MS? Smoking causes damage to the cells that form the lining of blood vessels. When these cells, called endothelial cells, are damaged, a number of things can happen. The immune system normally fights off bad agents like bacteria and viruses. When endothelial cells are damaged the immune system can become overactive and turn against the cells of our own bodies.

This is called autoimmune disease, and MS is an autoimmune disease. Endothelial cells form a very tight barrier in the brain blood vessels to prevent toxic substances from entering the brain. If endothelial cells are damaged, the brain blood vessels may become leaky. Toxic substances may pass into the brain.

What does all this mean to me? The Surgeon General has been warning everyone for years that smoking cigarettes may be hazardous to our health. Smoking increases the risk for cancer, heart and lung disease, and stroke. MS may be added to that list. How many reasons does a person need to quit smoking? The evidence is obviously mounting.

Cigarette smoking and multiple sclerosis (MS): Yet another reason to quit.''

Robin L. Brey, MD

The other element that is important is vitamin D which is obtained from sunlight, this is why there are fewer cases of MS in the tropics.

Wish we had not moved from Trinidad then I would have got more than enough sunlight and my mum might not have introduced me to smoking.

I feel that I have been caught in a pincer movement between smoking and lack of sunlight all year around.

It is quite worrying the idea that I might have somehow contributed to my getting MS, perhaps not caused it directly but indirectly by giving the disease the conditions it needs.

Find that idea very creepy indeed.

But what about if it is something environmental that is causing the huge increase in cases of MS.

What if it is the pesticides we use so freely in the agriculture and animal husbandry.

Had a look and found this and other links:

‘’Pesticides can cause brain damage and trigger conditions such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease, according to scientists.
A landmark study claims that chemicals routinely used by farmers in the UK and around the world can result in neurological diseases.

The controversial findings will be challenged by the agro-chemical industry, which insists exposure levels for humans are well within safety limits.’’

‘’Research suggests link between pesticides and brain disease Researchers at the University of North Dakota say preliminary research shows a link between pesticide exposure and neurological diseases like Parkinsons and Alzheimers. Researchers say they've also identified a surprisingly efficient way pesticides may get into the human body.

Researchers at the University of North Dakota are quick to point out these are preliminary results -- covering one year of a planned four-year study.

But Dr. Patrick Carr says there's clear evidence pesticide exposure at relatively low doses affect brain cells.

"Some areas of the brain displayed what I would call physical changes -- in other words, a loss of neurons in particular regions of the brain," says Carr. "In other regions of the brain you wouldn't notice a change in the number of cells present there, but now the cells that are present there are expressing chemicals in different amounts, compared to normal rats."

As an example, Carr found cells responsible for production of a substance called myelin were damaged or destroyed. Myelin is a substance made up of fats and proteins that encloses nerves. It helps transmit signals along the nerves. Loss of myelin causes nerve damage in neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis. ‘’

All very worrying and not something that can be changed quickly however one thing we can change is smoking having read several of the articles about the link between MS and smoking I would like to strongly urge people to stop smoking.

I find the link between MS and smoking very scary.

If you do smoke, this is the time to promise yourself you will free yourself from this expensive and unhealthy habit.

Worries me that my smoking cigarettes could have caused me to have MS makes me feel quite ill.

The thought that this extreme level of disability is all down to cigarettes that my mother encouraged me to smoke is quite horrific.

I would like to encourage you to give up you owe it to yourself to do this now.

It is important to protect yourself and others from the harmful effects of smoking.

Sorry to alarm people but it was on my mind for awhile now and when I saw the piece Jen had written I knew that I wanted to have a look on the internet for links between Smoking and MS.


Living Day to Day with Multiple Sclerosis said...

I hope that isn't true. I currently am a smoker and I have been thinking about quitting a lot lately due to everything I have read lately.

Richie said...

I agree with what you are saying. When there are other peoples actions harming us with pesticides and other scary man made complex molecules it seems incredible we should want to increase the risk by smoking.
When you say
"Think that would take the excitement out of smoking unless you have a thing about dicing with death you would not want to carry on smoking."
I think you miss the suicidal nature of rebellious behaviour- self-harmers feel relief and empowerment from damaging themselves obviously- teen rages end up in favourite possessions smashed up. Smoking is buying in to that wild recklessness in a restrained manner- the damage seems a long way off but the action is now and visible. Smoking starts as a rebellious statement and becomes an enslavement. Just like crack cocaine!

Herrad said...

Hi Tara,

Did not mean to scare you but this has been on my mind for awhile.

Hope you do give up.

Hi Richie,
Excellent really spot on thanks for leaving this comment.


Anonymous said...

Hi Herrad! I'm not surprised that smoking is linked to MS. With all we know about cigarettes, I'm sure it is the cause of many many diseases and disorders. What I found interesting was the Vitamin D connection too. Gosh, I know you are alarmed...I hope you don't turn it around into self-blame Herrad! Please don't do that!

On a lighter note, those photos of Amsterdam at night are magical. What a beautiful canal...I hope you have a nice day today.

Jen said...

Oh, if only quitting smoking was an easy task. I STILL find myself craving butts when I drink with my friends. It now takes a conscious effort to abstain.....Although the THC is not off the table.

Thanks for the shout out, Herrad. I see that there was also a study in Norway. My childhood smoking buddy was just diagnosed with lupus, another autoimmune disease. Gotta wonder....

I love all the Amsterdam shots, particularly the canal ones. It's sunny and mild here today in New Jersey.....

Talk to you again soon--



Cranky said...

Herrad - I think the connection to cigs and MS is probably fairly weak, otherwise there'd be a lot more folks in the world who have MS. Chances are it just is one more risk factor of a fairly limited nature.

When my mother got breast cancer, my sister pointed out to me that not having children and being fat (both true about me) are risk factors for breast cancer, in addition to having a family member with it. They both contributed a bit to the chance of getting breast cancer, but not a huge impact. I must confess I neither got skinny nor pregnant to limit my risks. 8-)

There's a whole patchwork of contributing factors for any disease. If you look at all the other folks who had a similar background to you - born in Trinidad, moved someplace much cooler while still relatively young, history of smoking - the vast majority of those folks won't have MS. Will they be more likely to have MS than the average pop? Don't know, but even if it's slightly more frequent for the folks like you, don't beat yourself up for smoking when younger.

Interesting on the pesticides. My dad had a huge garden (over 1 acre) for 25+ years. He now has Parkinson's. Somewhere, he read about this potential connection and suspects the pesticides he used played a role in his Parkinson's. Bummer.

Sorry to go on so long. Have a great day! Cut yourself some slack. You're doing a wonderful job with your life today!

Kris said...

I hate cigarettes YUCKKKK! Well, I do like chocolate cigs once in a blue moon... like when I'm in Paris and I can buy my favorite variety...which was over 2 years ago. Like I said, "once in a blue moon."

Lovely photos by the way! Are we sure Paris is the city of lights? ;o)

Joan said...

Had not heard that about smoking and MS. I was a heavy smoker but I did stop almost 6 years ago a year before we retired as I knew it would be far to expenceive on a pension.So glas I did as feel so much better and richer for it. Love Joan

Herrad said...

Hi Rain,
Thanks for your comment, do not worry I will not start blaming myself.
The Amsterdam pictures were good weren't they.
I am having a good day hope you are too.
How your sore muscles?

Hi Jen,
There is a big connection between alchol and smoking and that is very difficult to break.
Good luck.
Today started rainng and grey and overcast and suddenly sunny and blue skies at the end of the afternoon.
Glad you having good weather. New Jersey is where the Misfits are fromisn't it?

Hi Cranky,
Thanks for your comment, did you know that the vast majority of people will never know they have MS it will only be discovered if an autopsy is needed.
Sure it is a huge risk factor an enormous one.
Thanks for telling me about your father.
Guess when he had his garden all the fruit and veggies came from the garden.
Shame about the pesticides and his Parkinson's I often wonder how that affects MS.
Promise I won't beat myself up no point is there can't turn the clock back though will always wish I can.

Hi Kris,
Used to love chocolate ciggies too wish now that I had stuck to them.
So have you already been here or were you coming over later in the late summer/autumn.
Hope you have a great time.
The canals in the centre of town where Hotel Weichman is is very pretty all lit up at night.
Miss living in thre centre and strolling around thec anals in the evenings magical.

Have a good evening and a fine Saturday.

Herrad said...

Hi Joan,
Great that you stopped when you did brilliant and much better for you.
I stopped in 1999 had been smoking since I was 15and before that my mum would let me light hers for her and have a puff or two.
Exciting stuff felt so grown up.
Also felt so much better when I stopped.
Have a good evening and a great Saturday.
ps any tomatos yet?

Kris said...


I have not made it yet. Was thinking of fall but some things have changed. It's definitely at the top of my list though. Wish I had more money and time.... get in line, right?

Have a nice evening as well!

Herrad said...

Hi Kris,
Hope you get here sure you would really it and you could hop on the high speed train to Paris.
Have a great weekend.

Cranky said...

Herrad - I had no idea that most folks with MS not realizing it. It does make sense though, since it is often so hard to diagnose even when there are a lot of symptoms. For those with mild cases, I can see how there'd just be troubling symptoms that never get attached to a diagnosis of MS.

You are always bringing up great stuff that's very thought provoking. Thanks for that!

Love - Cranky

Jen said...

The Misfits! LOL...Yes: I just Googled it. Lodi, NJ. Too funny. Didn't know this. People from my high school use to go see them...I remember the t-shirts.

robert said...

Good morning Herrad,
allow me first to answer the question of my origin - it's a small city north of Hamburg, called Norderstedt, with many cows and a little less humans. Miss smelling autumn.
Dog's doing fine and stays pretty quiet during the night. Nevertheless, think about moving the house, as mould seems to appear in many rooms and being a father of a 22months old boy forces me to think much about his/our health.
Coming to the your entry, support very much to stop smoking (personally never did). Thank you for keeping up this message, as it needs to be told again and again, a word you might like to click within my latest entry.

Herrad said...

Hi Jen,
Saw the Misfits here twice in 2004 they were excellent even got an autograph from Jerry Only who thought my bright red hair was cool.

Hi Robert,
Thanks for coming by, I shall have a look at your latest post after posting this.
Agree with you that you need a house wihout mould for you and your baby.
Smoking needs to stop the drug dealers have made enough profit from peoples misery
Can you think of any other product that causes so much death being allowed?

Have a good Saturday.

Anonymous said...

Hi Herrad! The muscles are doing a bit better thanks for asking! The hot tub is really a godsend for me. Funny though, I'd never think of taking a hot bath at home during the summer, but I don't mind sitting in one at the spa! Mind tricks I guess, it seems more luxurious, ha ha!

Herrad said...

Hi Rain,

Just off to sleep thensaw your comment.

Glad your strained muscles are feeling better now.

Three cheers for the hot tub.
Have a good to morrow.

Celeste Maia said...

Very good post, as always, Herrad. I copied and sent it to a few friends who are either heavy smokers or very interested in health issues.
With CLL I also wonder what I possibly could have done, or not done, in life to get leukemia.
Hope you are having a good Saturday, and I am sending hugs from Portugal, Celeste

Herrad said...

Hi Cranky,
Apparently as many as a third are post mortum diagnosises.

Hi Celeste Maia,
As soon as I stopped smoking in 1999 I felt so much better.
Suddenly it did not make sense that I had ever wanted to smoke.
Its madness.

Hope you will have a great weekend in Portugal.
It looks like it will be a sunny day here today which I intend to enjoy.

Have a good day.