Pectus Excavatum and Smoking, 10 Reasons to Quit in 2022

Evidence Based This post has medical citations

All these are closely related to the problems that smoking causes in people. Smoking causes problems not only to your heart and lungs but to all organs in your body. Smoking is widely known for causing lung cancer.

Other health difficulties are heart and lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic pulmonary disorder. Smoking affects the lungs and increases the risk of tuberculosis, different eye diseases, and weakening the immune system.

These are also widespread problems in smokers. For someone with pectus excavatum, you need to know that your lung and airways are sensitive, and you have to be careful with your addictions to cigarettes and tobacco.

Know that smoke is the biggest trigger for breathing problems. There isn’t a worse combination than smoking cigarettes if you have pectus excavatum.

Although these effects (pectus excavatum and smoking) on the body can cause similar reactions and symptoms, combining them can only accelerate and aggravate a health problem.

DOES SMOKING AFFECT PECTUS EXCAVATUM?

Many people with chest deformities question if their condition worsens due to cigarette smoking addiction. On the forums, I try to connect with the people suffering from pectus excavatum.

I want to support the community and share my experience dealing with deformities. I constantly ask them questions and learn about their everyday challenges. Smoking is often one of the main obstacles for them.

Smoking and chest abnormalities are intimately related to the declining health issue. It’s pointless to wonder if smoking further exaggerates the health problems caused by the pectus excavatum deformity. The answer is always yes!

When it comes to chest deformities, though, things are a bit different. The deformation has implications depending on its severity, and when combined with this unhealthy habit, negative advancement is almost definite.

As a result, in this post, I will attempt to address all of the most closely associated smoking-related disorders that link to the pectus excavatum deformation.

WHY IS SMOKING HARMFUL TO YOUR HEALTH?

When inhaling tobacco smoke, it moves from the mouth through the upper airway, ultimately reaching the alveoli in our bodies.

As the smoke travels further into the respiratory system, more soluble gases are absorbed, and particles are deposited in the airways and alveoli.

Smokers are at risk for malignant and nonmalignant illnesses involving all parts of the respiratory system, including the mouth, due to the high dosages of carcinogens and toxins given to these locations.

Tobacco smoke damages tiny air-like projections in the airways called cilia. Cilia clear the dust and mucus from the airways. Cigarette smoke damages the cilia, so as a result, they can not work or reduce their function.

Cigarettes contain poisons that can weaken the immune system, making it more difficult to kill cancer cells.

SMOKING CAN AFFECT BONE HEALTH

Smokers are also at a more significant risk for broken bones. That is important to know and note when it comes to the connection between smoking and pectus deformities.

It is crucial to maintain and straighten the bones with additional doses of magnesium and avoid smoking for people who already have weaker and deformed chest bones due to the deformation.

It is often hard to live with pectus excavatum and the additional health problems due to the malformation. I suggest you avoid every potential risk factor, such as smoking.

SHORTNESS OF BREATH AND SMOKING

If the depth of the breastbone indentation in a patient with a funnel chest is extreme, it may decrease the amount of space the lungs have to expand. With that, you may experience shortness of breath.

However, smoking also reduces your lungs’ capacity in various ways. It can damage the walls of your air sacs, making it tough to transport air through your lungs. Smoking can also cause mucus to build up in your breathing paths, causing them to get blocked.

Having a concave chest and smoking can cause a severe cough. The cough is the body’s attempt to clean the airways, but it can be energy-draining and exhausting.

LIMITS EXERCISE CAPACITY

Another harmful aspect of smoking, which also affects deformity, is the inability to perform proper and healthy physical activity.

People who have severe pectus cases experience trouble breathing during physical activity. That difficulty is found in smokers as well. Smoking causes both immediate and long-standing effects on endurance and physical performance.

Because of that, try to choose the right way of dealing with negative and excess energy. Do not choose smoking or other unhealthy addictions to deal with your external problems!

The following are the three major health issues of smoking in people with pectus excavatum!

  • Smoking and bone health, or weaker bones
  • Lung capacity problems and breathing problems
  • Low energy and inability for a proper active life

For those of us who have this deformity, the key is to know all the possible risks that can harm our health. I have met many people with this deformity and do not know how to take care of it properly, thus only investing in their condition.

SMOKING AND BONE HEALTH

Generally, people know only the most known problems cigarettes cause. But so many articles and studies prove other, much more invisible, and hidden harmful effects of cigarettes on our health.

As I mentioned above, one of the most invisible issues is linked to our bone health. Since the pectus deformity itself is a bone deformity, it seems most important to dwell more on this topic.

NICOTINE AND TOBACCO

Nicotine is one of the most addictive components of cigarettes. It affects our circulatory system, heart, and lungs. Still, its function erodes deep inside our bodies and even our bones.

The first difficulty occurs when the amount of oxygen that transfers to the bones, muscles, and joints reduces. Oxygen is the most crucial component for their health and recovery.

When smoking, you will probably develop a nicotine addiction. With that, you reduce the ability of your body to properly absorb calcium, the main ingredient of healthy and strong bones. This condition for sure leads to weak bones.

Nicotine slows the perfect body process of creating the cells inevitable for bone healing, the bone-forming cells called osteoblasts. But smoking also halves the estrogen in our bodies.

That is certainly not desirable, as its function is to build and maintain a healthy skeleton.

SMOKING AND PECTUS EXCAVATUM SURGERY

For smokers, surgery is less successful, and healing takes longer. What would affect pectus patients who decide to remove their deformity surgically is knowing that surgery may not be as effective if they are smokers.

What many orthopedists suggest is to quit smoking before surgery. Even if that termination is two weeks or a month before surgery, it will still increase the chances of better results.

Smokers are more likely than non-smokers to develop problems such as nonunions and infections and a higher level of self-reported discomfort and pain.

Smokers are also more likely to experience wound complications, such as serious wound infections, pneumonia, and slowed healing.

All the difficulties are usually related to the postoperative period when the patient’s body needs to recover. Suppose that period is very long and tedious. In that case, it will stop you from returning to your regular life and working faster.

Still, it can also cause other unwanted complications. Whether you smoke or not, you should consult a doctor before deciding on surgery as a treatment option. It is desirable to bear all the possible consequences.

LUNG CAPACITY AND BREATHING PROBLEMS

The chest capacity is lowered by smoking. As someone with pectus excavatum, who is not a smoker and has never felt the desire to smoke, I can declare that I often felt short of breath when inhaling in particular activities or postures of the body, simply due to the deformity.

I could only guess how many difficulties smoking would cause in that pre-existing health condition. Some smokers believe they don’t have an issue if they breathe normally. However, before any symptoms appear, a significant amount of lung tissue is often damaged.

SMOKING AND AIR QUANTITY

Smoking reduces total lung capacity and the total quantity of air you can breathe when you take a deep breath in multiple ways. Smoking can cause injury to the chest muscles, limiting the expansion required to take a deep breath.

The flexibility of the smooth muscle in the airways is also damaged and, combined with the other difficulties, can limit the amount of air you breathe in.

CHRONIC OBSTRUCTIVE PULMONARY DISEASE (COPD)

Smoking is the most common reason for COPD, and some studies show it is closely related to chest deformities. COPD is a disease that can affect current and previous smokers. A cough that lasts longer might be a sign of COPD.

Spirometry, a basic breathing test, is used to detect COPD. Spirometry is a test a doctor can do, and I suggest seeking medical help. Smoking is also responsible for up to 80% of COPD-related fatalities.

COPD is a set of disorders that cause airflow blockage and breathing difficulties. Chronic bronchitis and asthma are all indications of COPD. These may result in all or part of the following occurrences:

  • The lungs’ airways and air sacs lose their capacity to expand and contract.
  • Many of the air sacs’ walls are often damaged.
  • The airway walls thicken and become inflamed (irritated and swollen, which can cause an actual deformation to the chest)
  • Mucus production is more than usual in this situation, which easily clogs the airways and prevents regular airflow.

Most people are born with lungs that are more strong than we require for daily living, which is our bodies’ magic. Even if you lose 30% of your lungs’ ability to breathe, you’ll still have more than enough to live a healthy and active life.

It’s both a benefit and a curse because it means your lungs might worsen without you realizing it or feeling something is off.

LOW ENERGY AND INABILTY FOR A PROPER ACTIVE LIFE

Smokers suffer considerably higher levels of lack of energy, sadness, and depression, as well as a lower health-related quality of life. Smoking may result in decreased walking ability in people, which leads to other serious problems.

The control of normal brain nourishment disturbs cigarette nicotine. That suppresses appetite by causing the smoker’s energy level to fall into a negative state.

Diminished energy intake connects with low body weight prevalent in people with a sunken chest, which also reduces vitality energy in people. All of that combined results in the outcomes of such an unhealthy situation.

IMPACT ON OVERALL WELL-BEING

Everything seems to end with that outer picture of a man and his well-being. Our brain needs nutritional values to operate correctly and release the hormones that make us happy and satisfied; dietary values are not cigarettes.

It’s all part of a vicious loop, and everything is intertwined. If we aren’t healthy on the inside, it will show on the outside. The most crucial thing is that you will not feel good in your body.

If you don’t have enough energy, you won’t be able to maintain a physically active lifestyle and, as a result, you’ll ignore your appearance. I am aware of the impact of funnel chest deformity on the self-confidence of those who have it.

Therefore, I urge prevention to avoid any more harm to our bodies. Remember that is our only home! Energy levels and activity is crucial for improving our deformation. So, please, choose the best for yourself!

When your lung function falls below 60%, you’ll find that even simple activities like going upstairs make you breathless. But it’s too late by then because lung function rarely returns once it’s gone. You should know that you have dangerous influences on this vice that permanently destroy your vital functions.

I know all of this information may sound scary, but believe me, the purpose is not to scare you but the opposite. I want to tell the facts and help you before it’s too late!

SMOKING AND COUGHING PROBLEMS

The next big problem that people with chest deformity with a more advanced degree often experience is the cough. Coughing is one of the commonly known issues among smokers.

Constant coughing can result in exhaustion that certainly does not require medical evidence because we have all experienced it sometime in our lives. Coughing leaves us with less energy and even tired if the cough is strenuous and constant.

But, although it is tedious, coughing serves as a helpful intention in our bodies. It’s your body’s strategy to prevent foreign objects from entering your lungs.

Cough aids in the removal of excess mucus from the airways and small tubes in your lungs. Smoking, a cold, a lung infection, or an asthma illness might all contribute to the additional mucus.

Coughing can link to several factors other than serious lung illness, such as heartburn or throat irritants from dust, pollution, or different chemicals. However, the main anticipated danger is smoking, which appears to be a first-world problem.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT COUGHING

Coughing is a natural part of daily life due to different occasions. It’s natural to cough when you have a cold, the flu, allergies, or Covid. Coughing blood or thick mucus that’s not usual are the situations when you need to see your doctor!

If your cough leaves you feeling fatigued or light-headed, causing chest or stomach pain, please do not waste time but seek medical help immediately.

I know many people who tried to heal themselves, especially in these difficult times today, and it did not end well. Of course, it refers to these more severe symptoms.

WHAT CAUSES THE COUGH?

You may wonder what causes the cough in smokers. Whether you smoke cigarettes or vaporizers, you inhale a variety of chemical mixtures that are bad for you.

These substances become housed in your throat and lungs, and the body’s natural means of cleaning these airways is coughing. A smoker’s cough occurs when a cough lasts for a long time after smoking for a prolonged amount of time.

It characterizes wheezing and crackling sounds that connect with mucus in the throat. It might cause pain in your throat and lungs. Be careful with the additional potential pain you may cause to an existing deformity.

In the morning, a smoker’s cough can be particularly annoying. That is because, after a few hours of not smoking, your cilia restores its capacity to remove toxins from your lungs.

The severity of your cough, how often you smoke, and whether you have any underlying diseases all influence the complications of smoker’s cough, such as:

  • Damaged throat
  • Having a raspy voice
  • You may feel airways itching and inflammation
  • Cough that has been there for a long time
  • Infections that have risen a lot

PECTUS COUGH

A bottomless hole in the chest caused by severe pectus excavatum can pressure the lungs and heart, causing frequent respiratory diseases, coughing, and wheezing.

Coughs that persist for three weeks or more are your body’s way of informing you that something is wrong. The first step your doctor should take is to figure out why you’re coughing. If you know the cause of your cough, you should immediately share it with your doctor.

PECTUS EXCAVATUM, SMOKING AND COVID-19

The current world enemy, COVID-19, and the pandemic have caused countless dilemmas for people from the beginning. Too many of these issues are related to smoking and respiratory diseases.

COVID 19 affects the respiratory system and causes only moderate symptoms in most cases. Covid results are severe in people with comorbidities such as pectus excavatum. That case may cause a change in lung function, and it has the potential to be deadly.

IS THERE A LINK BETWEEN SMOKING AND SEVERE COVID-19?

Yes. Those who need hospital care for Covid-19 most often are smokers. According to a World Health Organization (WHO) analysis, smoking causes more severe illnesses and a higher chance of death.

Current smokers who have coronavirus are twice as likely to go to the hospital and report difficult symptoms, according to UK research published in January 2021.

IS SMOKING DANGEROUS IF YOU HAVE COVID-19?

Yes, smoking isn’t the best idea if you have Covid-19. Quitting smoking has been shown to lessen the severity of lung infections and avoid the development of pneumonia or bronchitis.

Breathing will improve within days after quitting smoking, and circulation will improve by weeks. Stopping smoking will improve your health immediately.

During that time, you must be very careful. Even if it is tough, you must make an effort to do all that is healthy for you and everything that a doctor recommends.

VAPING AND E-CIGARETTES

The most significant difference between smoking cigarettes and vaping is that smoking distributes nicotine by burning tobacco, inducing smoking-related ailments. Vaping delivers nicotine by heating a liquid in a considerably less dangerous technique.

Vaping is not without any risk, although it is far less dangerous than smoking. The healthiest approach if you have pectus excavatum is to avoid vaping and smoking altogether. If you don’t smoke, please don’t vape.

Use this alternative if you only want to quit smoking. The popularity of vaping has skyrocketed, particularly among youngsters. According to recent research, over 37% of high school seniors vaped in 2018, up from 28% the year before.

People frequently slip into that addicted loop as a result of some fashion. Allowing oneself to become a smoker for the sake of others or being convinced is not a good idea. But if you’re already a smoker, I don’t blame you.

Please, however, select a less dangerous choice. Electric cigarettes are now available in various formats that help people stop smoking while being less dangerous.

One way we’ll learn more is if individuals report vaping-related health concerns to the FDA – you may let them know if you’ve encountered such difficulties. Think carefully about vaping until we learn more.

If you decide to vape, avoid off-the-shelf e-cigarettes and stick to brand-name ones without added chemicals such as marijuana or other drugs (be careful when buying things from the street market).

The market is loosely regulated, and it’s unclear what’s in various e-cigarette products. Still, some prove that dangerous substances are in it. You must avoid vaping if you have a more severe type of pectus excavatum.

If your situation has additional health difficulties associated with this deformity, such as breathing problems or asthma, stop using it. Inflammation and severe lung illness, as well as a malfunction of the immune system in the lungs, can all be caused by vaping, so try to avoid it.

SMOKING WHILE PREGNANT WITH PECTUS EXCAVATUM

We have reached the topic that there is no need for any dilemma when arises the question of whether you can smoke while pregnant?! The answer is, of course, NO, NO, and NO!

Please be aware and responsible, and regardless of our health condition, at least we must provide our child with a dignified and healthy life. Of course, there is a risk of lower fertility in women smokers, but if this is not the case with you, try to quit smoking, at least during pregnancy.

That rule is necessary not only for the mother but also for the partner. Harm to passive (second-hand) smokers is as noteworthy as smoking.

There are countless side effects of smoking that can affect a baby in the womb. Smoking during pregnancy can harm the unborn baby’s tissue, especially the lungs and brain. It is also important to note that the pectus excavatum might be inherited, so you must be extra cautious not to harm the child’s chest and lungs.

Tobacco use is also linked to miscarriage, according to the research. It contains carbon monoxide and additional toxins, which can stop a developing fetus from obtaining adequate oxygen and damage the unborn baby.

Newborns whose moms smoke while pregnant or are exposed to smoke after birth have weaker lungs, increasing their risk of health issues. Similarly, fetal alcohol syndrome is a condition from consuming alcohol during pregnancy, proven to cause pectus excavatum.

Read and educate yourself before you become a parent. Do everything in your power to have a healthy child!

SECOND-HAND SMOKERS

I never wanted to be a smoker since I am a big fan of healthy living and sports. However, this does not reduce my exposure to cigarette smoke. I’ve been in smoking crowds and realized that I don’t like being in closed, smokey rooms.

I instantly get bodily symptoms such as a peculiar and odd headache, dry throat, tightening, red eyes, and even a cough. I don’t want to sit and live in a smoky house. Therefore, I don’t suggest smoking indoors.

Even if you are a smoker, I guarantee you will notice a difference if you attempt to avoid smoking in your house. Not only will your clothing, bedding, and everything else not smell like cigarette smoke, but you may also reduce its harmfulness.

Of course, it will be most beneficial if you live with a non-smoker. Adults and children living with smokers are at a higher risk of developing respiratory disorders. Children are more vulnerable since their lungs are still growing.

Second-hand smoke exposure can result in damaged lung function and signs of airway inflammation, such as coughing and hyperventilating.

QUIT SMOKING

Quit smoking in the interest of yourself and your children. If your other family members smoke, educate them about the consequences of tobacco use and encourage them to quit.

Quitting isn’t always simple and easy, but there are many ways available to assist you in quitting smoking.

I know that cigarette cravings are most likely to be highest in settings when you smoke or chew tobacco the most, such as at parties, bars, while worried, or while sipping coffee. But, in these cases, try to identify your triggers and make a strategy to avoid or get through them without using tobacco.

Don’t put yourself in a position to relapse. If you used to smoke while talking on the phone, have a pen and paper nearby to busy yourself with doodling instead of smoking. Find your solution, something that will keep you interested.

Also, physical exercise can help distract you from and lower the severity of your smoke cravings. Even short walks or walking up and down the stairs can help eliminate cigarette urges. Smoking might have been a method for you to cope with stress.

Fighting a cigarette addiction might be difficult, but be patient and endure. Try to discover another alternative way to use your energy, which will help you resist the urge for a cigarette.

Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, muscular relaxation, yoga, visualization, massage, or listening to relaxing music, can help take the edge off stress.

CONCLUSION

Remind yourself of the benefits of stopping smoking! Write down all the benefits and weigh the pros and cons to realize that the pros win. Do not try to hide your inner problems with cigarette smoke!

Ask for help if you need it, never be ashamed to show weakness, but never give up on yourself and your health!

The deformity is often just an external problem, but with the assistance of cigarettes, it can change the whole picture for the worse. So be careful and mindful!

Feel free to share your story with us, and let’s help each other. The more information we know, the better for all of us!

Article by:

Mihail Veleski

My name is Mihail Veleski. I used to suffer from the pectus excavatum deformity during my teenage years.

Leave a Comment

RELATED BLOG POSTS

FREE PECTUS EXCAVATUM E-BOOK IN YOUR INBOX

Learn everything you need to know about the pectus excavatum deformity from A-Z. See how I managed to improve my pectus excavatum deformity non-surgically.

Sign up and discover how you can improve your physical and mental wellbeing once and for all.