Here are some established nicotine facts on the relationships between nicotine and the brain and body on a physiological level. When you inhale smoke, nicotine is carried deep into your lungs where it’s quickly absorbed into your bloodstream and carried to the heart, brain, liver, and spleen.
Nicotine affects many parts of your body, including the heart and blood vessels, the hormonal system, the body’s metabolism, and the brain.
Nicotine Facts and the Brain and Body
Long-term health hazards of smoking, such as cancer and emphysema, are often the result of chemicals in cigarettes other than nicotine. However, it’s a nicotine fact that it is utilized in the form of toxic poisons sold commercially in the form of pesticides.
One of the dangers of nicotine is that in small doses it acts as a stimulant, but in large doses it act a depressant, inhibiting the flow of bioelectrical signals between nerve cells. In even larger doses, the nicotine can act as a lethal poison, affecting the heart, blood vessels, and hormones. It’s a fact that death from nicotine overdose has been reported; a lethal dose in non-tolerant adults being as little as 60 mg, although even 2 to 5 mg can cause nausea and vomiting.
Symptoms of nicotine overdose include nausea, salivation, abdominal pain, sweating, headache and dizziness. Blood pressure drops and breathing becomes difficult. Consuming just one cigarette’s worth is enough of a nicotine overdose danger to make a small child severely ill.
Nicotine facts and the brain : Nicotine changes how your brain and your body function. Nicotine inhalation stimulates the central nervous system and increases heart rate and blood pressure, decreasing circulation by constricting blood vessels. Nicotine causes damage to the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Sensitivity to pain and stress is reduced. Chronic smokers often complain of the lack of sense of smell and taste, and less stamina and motor skills.
For a non-smoker, a few puffs of a cigarette can result in dizziness, headache, nausea, coughing and gagging, abdominal cramps, and possibly vomiting or weakness that the person must develop a tolerance for, if they wish to continue smoking.
The effects of nicotine may increase your resting metabolic rate slightly, which means a smoker will burn more calories while at rest than if they were a non-smoker. This benefit is outweighed by the long term effects of nicotine which increases the levels of bad LDL cholesterol which damages your arteries. This makes it more likely that you could have a heart attack or a stroke. It’s another established one of these nicotine facts that it is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
Effects of Nicotine on Hormones
The effects of nicotine cause a rapid release of adrenaline. The effects of adrenaline include; rapid heartbeat, increased blood pressure, and rapid shallow breathing. Adrenaline also causes glucose stores to be mobilized into the bloodstream.
Nicotine may also block the release of insulin. Insulin causes excess blood glucose to be absorbed into your cells. This release of adrenaline and inhibition of insulin may cause smokers to become hyperglycemic ie. have above average blood sugar levels. This may in turn influence appetite and hunger.
Another of these nicotine facts is that it indirectly causes a release of dopamine in the brain regions controlling pleasure. This reaction is similar to that seen with drugs such as cocaine and heroin and is thought to underlie the pleasurable sensations experienced by many smokers.