How Does Smoking Affect the Muscular System?

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What Is the Muscular System?

  • The human muscular system is made up of three sections: skeletal, cardiac and smooth muscles. Smooth muscles are found in the arteries, veins, respiratory system and bladder. Cardiac muscles are in the heart, while the skeletal muscles are found among the bones and joints. Smoking can adversely affect every one of these muscle groups.

Smoking and Skeletal Muscles

  • Skeletal muscles look like long parallel strips that are commonly referred to as striated muscles. Smoking inhibits the ability of striated muscles to form connective tissue and regenerate properly. This reduces a person's ability to move, for example. You need cell volume to maintain muscle integrity. Without muscle integrity, you can develop neuromuscular diseases like myoclonus, which is characterized by severe twitching and spasms.

Smoking and Smooth Muscles

  • Smooth muscles in the body are adversely affected by smoking because it hurts the body's ability to maintain muscle cell shape. This is referred to as Rho-kinase inhibition. Muscles located within the artery walls need to maintain their structure in order to provide much needed nutrients and oxygen to the organs. People with poor vascular development can get elevated blood cholesterol, which can lead to gastral infection. Smoking can also cause hypertension and atherosclorisis. Atherosclorsis is a preventable disease, yet it kills thousands of people a year.

Smoking and Cardiac Muscles

  • Cardiac muscles are controlled by the nervous system. When someone ingests chemicals in cigarettes, like nicotine and carbon monoxide, the nervous system and the muscles in the heart sometimes get confused about when to pump blood. Signals get sent from the brain that tell the heart when to beat. Carbon monoxide can temporarily change the cell composition of blood hemoglobin, which limits the amount of oxygen a person will have. Myoglobin, a protein found in most muscle tissue, binds with toxins in cigarettes. This causes cells to register in the nervous system in ways they are not supposed to. When the muscle cells are chemically "right," your nervous system recognizes this by essentially jumping and skipping--the impulse gets misdirected. Simply put, you suffocate and poison your cells to death.

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