Harmful Effects of Smoking that can Damage your Kidneys
Guest Blog Post by Dr. Nasim Musa Porosh (Consultant Nephrologist)
Smoking can damage nearly every organ in the body, including the heart, blood vessels, lungs, eyes, mouth, reproductive organs, bones, bladder, and digestive organs. This article focuses on how smoking affects the blood vessels and urine producing systems of your kidneys, which may lead to long term organ failure.
Uncontrolled or poorly controlled high blood pressure is a leading cause of kidney disease. Smoking slows the blood flow to important organs like the kidneys and can make kidney disease worse.
In addition to tobacco, smoking allows other toxins into the body. According to the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP), studies have shown that smoking is harmful for the kidneys, and can cause kidney disease to progress and increases the risk for proteinuria (excessive amount of protein in the urine).
Results from a study show that tobacco chewing and cigarette smoking results in chronic inflammatory states, evidenced by increased levels of CRP. It is observed that increased levels of microalbumin, serum urea, serum creatinine in tobacco chewers and smokers.
Nicotine Receptors On Kidneys May Speed up Kidney Damage
Scientists say they have found nicotine receptors on kidney cells that may link nicotine to accelerated kidney damage in cigarette smokers. If the kidneys are less able to excrete these substances, extracellular fluid and blood volumes increase.
Incontinence (leaking urine) and Overactive Bladder (OAB), impact more than 33 million men and women. Smoking bothers the bladder and can cause frequent urination. It can also cause coughing spasms that can lead to urine leakage.
The infertility rate for smokers is twice the rates for those who do not smoke.
The nicotine in cigarette smoke is a big part of the problem. It raises your blood pressure and heart rate, narrows your arteries and hardens their walls, and makes your blood more likely to clot. It stresses your heart and sets you up for a heart attack or stroke.
Renal susceptibility genes or polymorphisms may also influence the nephrotoxic effect of smoking in different individuals. Nicotine is a weak base with a pKa of 8.0 .which is primarily filtered by the glomeruli and both secreted and reabsorbed at the tubular level.
It is a known fact that smoking one cigarette increases the heart rate by 14% and blood pressure by 6%. This reaction is probably caused by the increased plasmatic concentrations of adrenaline and noradrenaline while smoking.
Why You Should Quit Smoking to Prevent Further Kidney Damage
In as little as 1 day after quitting smoking, a person’s blood pressure begins to drop, decreasing the risk of heart disease from smoking-induced high blood pressure. In this short time, a person’s oxygen levels will have risen, making physical activity and exercise easier to do, promoting heart-healthy habits.
The risk of heart disease will decrease by half after quitting smoking for 1 year, and arteries and blood vessels will begin to widen after 5 years. One year after quitting smoking, a person’s risk for coronary heart disease decreases by half.
Stopping smoking not only reduces the risk of developing other diseases, but may help a patient recover quicker by eliminating the acute effects of smoking on the body. It may help slow kidney function decline in people with type 2 diabetes and with progressive kidney disease.