Critical ingredient in smoking linked to emphysema
Posted Sep 22 2008 11:03am
A critical ingredient and known contaminant found in cigarettes and other sources could be the main cause of emphysema, new research has suggested.
Cadmium is a metal that the body finds difficult to expel, it can be found in cigarette smoke, sludge, crop fertiliser and other occupational sources.
And high-level exposure isn't the only risk. Low-level exposure from second-hand smoke inhalation or contaminated foods can also increase the chances of developing the lung disease.
The study carried out by the University of Michigan School of Public Health suggests that cadmium levels present in the body can double the risk of developing emphysema and other pulmonary diseases like chronic bronchitis.
Recent studies have linked high levels of cadmium with decreased lung function, particularly in workers who have been occupationally exposed to the metal, but this study is one of the first to reveal people with slightly increased levels also had lung function problems.
By testing lung function using three different measures, the researchers found that people with higher levels of urinary cadmium had a reduced ability to exhale, irrespective of whether they smoked. However, the greatest effect was among current and former smokers.
This latest study is yet another reason why giving up smoking can save you and those around you. Alternative medicine and complementary therapy has a variety of techniques to help you quit smoking for good.