Smoking affects pituitary, thyroid, adrenal, testicular and ovarian function, calcium metabolism and the action of insulin.
A substance in cigarette smoke decreases the amount of thyroxine produced by the thyroid gland.
Smoking causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure as a result of constriction of blood vessels. It tends to increase the concentration of fatty acids in the blood and also the liability of blood platelets to adhere to each other and to the walls of blood vessels.
Nicotine causes stimulation and sedation of the central nervous system depending upon the dose.
Smoking has been shown to have an anti-oestrogenic effect, decreasing fertility and reducing the age of menopause. Menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes are experienced more commonly among smokers. Smoking results in reduction in bone mineral density, making osteoporosis more common among female smokers through its oestrogen-lowering effect
Smoking acutely increases the plasma levels of hormones such as prolactin, adrenocorticotrophin, growth hormone and arginine vasopressin.
An acute rise in circulating cortisol is observed after smoking.
Elevated adrenal androgens contribute to insulin resistance reported in smokers. which is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.The reduced insulin sensitivity seen in smokers could be due to the increase in counter-regulatory hormones such as growth hormone, cortisol and catecholamines which all raise blood glucose levels.
Calcium absorption is lower in smokers as compared with non-smokers. The impairment of calcium absorption results in accelerated bone loss as well as decreased usefulness of dietary calcium supplements.
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