Quit Smoking to Make the Best of Life With Neurofibromatosis
Contributed by Lisa Laing
As a disease, Neurofibromatosis carries a large number of symptoms which greatly affect sufferers. Type one (NF 1) is known to cause high blood pressure, the effects of which can be very damaging on the body. High blood pressure has been known to cause aneurysms strokes and general damage to arteries – as such, it is in the interest of any NF 1 sufferer to cut down on smoking to give their body the best chance to maintain normal blood pressure, avoiding unnecessary damage. This is, of course, in addition to the general benefits of not smoking which are independent of NF 1.
Smoking and Blood Pressure
The nicotine in tobacco is known to cause a higher heart rate and blood pressure in a smoker for a number of minutes after they have smoked. Also, smoking leads to the buildup of fatty deposits in a person’s blood vessels which constricts the flow of blood, leading to higher blood pressure. This is one of the main reasons why smoking is associated with so many deaths in America each year. NF 1 can cause high blood pressure. Though it may be caused by a tumor or other issues, it may also be due to a narrowing of the blood vessels which enter the kidney, as well as the swelling of the adrenal gland (located at the top of each kidney) causing restricted blood flow. Given the severity of the risks which manifest due to high blood pressure, it is sensible for an NF 1 sufferer gain the best odds by quitting smoking and certainly by not starting in the first place.
In many ways, there are nearly as many ways in which to quit smoking as there are people. Nevertheless, they can be usefully split into medicinal methods of quitting and psychological methods; of course, in that tobacco addiction is both a physical and a psychological dependency, these methods can be combined for maximum effectiveness.
Nicotine gum is a useful and popular form of nicotine replacement medicine through which smokers can deal with their addiction. Nicotine gum works by releasing nicotine into the user’s saliva as they chew – this nicotine then enters the bloodstream through the thin lining of the mouth, which is rich in blood vessels. It will then be carried around the body, satisfying the craving without the detrimental affects on the circulatory system which are caused by smoking. Nicotine patches are another useful method for dealing with cravings. In a similar fashion to nicotine gum, patches allow the chemical to pass through the skin into the bloodstream. The levels are far lower than if the individual were smoking, meaning that the short term blood pressure rise will be smaller. Both of these systems, along with certain other medicines, are very effective ways of dealing withdrawal from smoking, the target being, of course, to quit nicotine completely.
Another very very effective way of quitting smoking is meditation – though this is a relatively new method and is not widely used. Nevertheless, meditation is has high success rates. In one study, scientists compared the effectiveness of meditation in helping people to quit relative to traditional will-power methods. The survey involved testing the breath of a number of subjects for carbon monoxide periodically during the period in which they were attempting to quit. Only 6% who used the regular method were able to give up, this is compared to the 30% of people who used meditation who hadn’t smoked after 17 months. ‘Mindfulness Meditation’ is the practice which people are advised to use to help them to tackle their addictions. There are many different, though related, methods of attaining mindfulness. Most involve being aware of one’s surroundings and environment, registering and focusing on a calm and regular breath while noting thoughts as they arise, then returning attention to the breath.
Living with NF 1 – as with other incurable diseases – can be made far easier by getting the best possible start in maintaining personal health. This definitely means avoiding any habits and activities which have no application but which are guarantied to significantly harm health in areas in which NF 1 already causes problems. With modern drugs and the right activities, people can gain a health grounding which enables the best outcomes, even surprising ones, in the fight against NF 1. Quitting smoking, and finding the best way to do so, is a prerequisite in this regard.