Nicotine, found in tobacco, can trigger autoimmune diseases by increasing the production of free radicals that cause DNA alterations and lead to autoimmunity.
Link between Smoking and Autoimmune Diseases
Cigarette smoking can lead to autoimmune diseases by interacting with genetic and immunological factors. Smoking can trigger the formation of autoantibodies that attack the body’s healthy cells.
Inflammatory Response and Abnormal Immune Response
Cigarette smoke initiates an inflammatory response in the lungs, which then spreads throughout the body via the bloodstream. Toxic chemicals in smoke interact with immune cells, triggering an abnormal immune response.
Under-Recognized Impact of Smoking on Autoimmune Disorders
While the association between smoking and cancer, lung diseases, and cardiovascular diseases is well known, the impact of smoking on the immune system and autoimmune disorders is often overlooked. Cigarette smoke has pro-inflammatory effects and can lead to the development of autoimmune disorders.
Dr. Vivek Nangia, Principal Director & Head – Pulmonology at Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket, explains that smoking causes an abnormal immune response involving cytokines and other molecules that regulate inflammation. This response leads to the formation of autoantibodies and the development of autoimmune disorders.
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