Smoking ups pancreatitis risk

Just in case the list of reasons to stop smoking is not long enough, here is one more reason that today is the perfect day to quit smoking.

Scientists have long known that alcohol intake increases the risk of pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas characterized by severe abdominal pain. Now, new research suggests that smoking is also an independent risk factor for pancreatitis.

Researchers in Denmark examined data from nearly 20,000 men and women. Two hundred and thirty-five participants developed pancreatitis during the follow-up period, which averaged 20 years. The researchers found that approximately 46 per cent of these cases of pancreatitis were attributed to smoking.

‘We found that smoking was associated with a higher risk of pancreatitis, and that this increase in risk was comparable in size with what we previously found for alcohol, meaning that smoking is actually as harmful for the pancreas as alcohol.’ said lead researcher Dr. Janne Tolstrup of the University of Southern Denmark.

‘Also, we observed that the risk among former smokers was increased, indicating that it may take several years before the risk among former smokers is back to normal.’

The researchers are unsure of the exact biological mechanism that links smoking and pancreatitis, but they note that animal studies have demonstrated that smoking interferes with pancreatic function among a host of other body functions.

We must be more aware of the lifestyle choices we make and the long term effects they produce.

Dr. Bouliane is the director and chiropractor at ChiroSpa Clinic (Cayman Islands).

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