Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Tobacco Road

I have just been reading the excellent UC blog 'Number Twos'. A comment on the most recent post raised the issue of smoking and UC. This is interesting to me because when I was first being investigated for possible UC, one question that I was asked was whether or not I had just stopped or cut down smoking. As it happened I was a smoker at the time and had been slowly cutting down for a couple of years. I was never a heavy smoker anyway, but I had more or less cut down to the level of a 'social smoker'. That'd be a social smoker who wasn't out smoking all that often. My doctor at the time (a youngish SHO who was very good, better in fact than my subsequent consultant - I wonder what happened to him?) outlined to me the theory that reducing or stopping smoking may have some as-yet unexplained link to the onset of UC. He also suggested in hippocratically-motivated couched terms that I think long and hard before I give up for good.

Conducting a brief survey of research papers available on the internet reveals studies dating back to before 1997 relating to the possibilty that nicotine may have some effect in reducing the activity of UC in general, or even the immune system in particular. Now, clearly I'm no expert but there appears to be an awful lot of circumstantial evidence for this to be utterly without foundation. There are, however, quite a few occurances of the old "patients responded just as well to the placebos" though, which is always disheartening. That just makes me wonder again about the role of the old prednisolone in my own strange UC world. Somewhere or other I found a research paper on the use of nicotine patches in UC sufferers - I've lost the link, but when I find it again I'll stick it up on a post.

As for my own smoking. Well, I still do. Not much, too little in fact to ever fit into those little medical surveys you have to do from time to time. I reckon it must average out at less than 1 every 2 days. Usually I only smoke when I go down the pub. Which is sadly none too often these days. I occassionally go through a little stage of having a cheeky one in the back garden late at night. And all the while I puff away, evil Nick-o-tine whispers in my ear: "Thats right. Its making you all better..."


Maria said...

There is some information on the NACC website relating to nicotine patches - one of the red bullet points under the heading 'Recent Research'.


Rich said...

Aha, thanks Maria. I had so many research papers open last night I lost track of them. It's interesting stuff.

Maria said...

I know. I have so much information in my head now that I could probably become a UC specialist! lol If only I had the same memory when it came to exams at school.

Sasquatch said...

I've heard it is actually the CO (carbon monoxide) in cigarettes that helps. Too bad the bad effects of smoking thoroughly outweigh UC problems.

Rich said...

Hi Sasquatch, I reckon giving up the evil drink outweighs some of the bad effects of smoking... its good to have a vice! Just visited your blog. Great site, love what you've done with the frisby. Are you a fellow sufferer?