Gutkha can well be defined as a devil in disguise. Promoted as a mouth freshener, this betel nuts and tobacco preparation is designed to release a chemical reaction that makes it an addictive proposition. However, most consumers believe that the blended spices and seasonings do not make it as a harmful product!
But, the truth remains that gutkha; just as any other tobacco product is very addictive and injurious to health. Gutkha has been proved to be carcinogenic,
The Effects if Gutkha
* Gutkha leads to Oral sub-mucous fibrosis (SMF), a pre-cancerous disease that is a first step to cancer. This has increased 20 to 30 times across the country. It also leads to throat, esophageal cancers.
* Oral cancers, predominantly squamous cell carcinomas of the lip, mouth, tongue, and pharynx
* Loss of appetite
* Promote unusual sleep patterns
* Loss of concentration
* One study found that pregnant women in India who used gutka had a threefold increased risk of having a low birth weight infant.
The extensive marketing of gutkha has led to a widespread addiction amongst school children.
According to a survey conducted in 2008, 5 million children under the age of 15 years are addicted to gutkha.
Another survey conducted in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh highlighted that the precursor of mouth cancers was shown in 16 percent of the children.
The number can get more shocking. The only way to stop the consumption is by educating the masses. Also, one must understand that it needs equal persuasion, guidance and support to help someone quit this habit. It’s not only the numbers that is disturbing, but also the fact that most gutkha users are unaware of the fact it is an addictive and harmful habit.
The list of shocking details doesn’t stop here. So far, ghutka is largely ignored, and there is no regulated body in India that works against the consumption of this deadly mouth freshener. So, till the time we have proper regulations in place, let’s as individuals try and help eradicate this habit. Let us use the power we so proudly hold, education!
Side Effects of Gutkha
Gutkha is an extremely popular herbal concoction sold throughout India and exported to a few countries. The product–a combination of lime, tobacco, betel nut, flavorings and catechu- is used by adults and children alike as a mild psychoactive drug. Some practitioners of Ayurveda (a traditional Indian system of medicine) advocate the use of gutkha as a treatment for fatigue and depression, and the product is also sold as a breath freshener. Unfortunately, gutkha is associated with many serious side effects; almost all medical practitioners advise against its routine use. 1.
* The most serious side effect associated with prolonged gutkha use is an increased risk of cancer. The National Institutes of Health report that betel nut is suspected to elevate the risk of cancer of the gums, mouth, throat, lung, liver, stomach, prostate and esophagus. The carcinogenic alkaloids in betel nut are made even more dangerous by the inclusion of tobacco and lime in gutkha. An elevated cancer risk has only been documented in people who chew or consume gutkha on a regular basis–while occasional use is far from ideal, it is not likely to have an appreciable effect on cancer risk. Psychological
* In small doses, betel nut is only slightly more psychoactive than coffee or chewing tobacco. However, in large doses, it can cause a cocaine-like state of intoxication. Symptoms of gutkha intoxication include dilated pupils, amnesia, psychosis, confusion, impaired judgment and euphoria. While some gutkha users seek the product because of its euphoric, stimulant effects, it can cause serious long-term psychological problems. After long-term use, many users become addicted to gutkha’s effects on brain chemistry. Withdrawal symptoms include insomnia, dry mouth, amnesia, insomnia, cognitive problems and fatigue. * Sponsored Links
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* Like most stimulants, gutkha can adversely affect the cardiovascular system. The National Institutes of Health warn that betel nut is associated with abrupt changes in blood pressure, which can lead to unpleasant side effects such as dizziness and blurred vision. Palpitations and cardiac arrhythmia are also very common in people using gutkha on both a long-term and short-term basis. More seriously, gutkha use is associated with an elevated risk of chest pain, heart attack and stroke. Gutkha should be avoided entirely by smokers and anyone with a history of heart disease. Gastrointestinal
* Gutkha has been known to cause many gastrointestinal side effects. Nausea, vomiting, acid reflux, abdominal pain and diarrhea are common in gutkha users. Rarely, these side effects may be so severe that they lead to a life-threatening state of dehydration, which may require hospitalization. Gastrointestinal side effects may last several hours, days or even weeks following the ingestion of gutkha. It has also been known to cause users to lose control of the bowels and/or bladder. While some Ayurvedic practitioners recommend gutkha in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, it is likely to worsen these conditions rather than improve them. Other Effects
* The National Institutes of Health report dozens of potential side effects associated with betel nut and tobacco, two of the primary components of gutkha. Gutkha is acutely toxic to the liver and kidneys and can cause life-threatening fluctuations in blood sugar for people with diabetes. It also frequently causes a reddish staining of the gums, teeth and lips. Less commonly, routine gutkha users develop a sallow complexion. Though gutkha is used by children, it is considered to be unsafe for those under 18 years of age; its toxic effects also make it contraindicated for women who are pregnant and nursing How Does Tobacco Affect the Body?
1. * Tobacco has a multitude of effects on the body. Cigarette smoke contains thousands of chemicals, some of the most harmful being nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide. When a smoker inhales cigarette smoke, these chemicals enter the bloodstream and reach the brain in less than 10 seconds. It takes only 15 to 20 seconds for nicotine to reach every part of a smoker’s body. At this speed, the effects of tobacco are felt almost instantly. * After smoking a cigarette, a smoker will have his heart rate will increase by 10 to 20 beats per minute. Blood pressure will also increase by 5 to 10 points. Nicotine and other chemicals in the smoke constrict blood vessels throughout the body. Blood and oxygen can’t move as easily through narrowed blood vessels, increasing the likelihood of heart disease or stroke. The poor circulation can also make a smoker’s fingers and hands cold. *
The nicotine in tobacco contributes to the hardening of the aorta, a large artery that moves blood from the heart throughout the entire body. This reduction in elasticity increases the risk of blood clots and also leads to an increased risk of stroke and heart attack. * Tobacco has a drastic effect on lung function. Our lungs contain mucus that traps toxic particles. Small, hair-like structures called cilia are found along the walls of the lungs; the cilia move back and forth to clear out the mucus and toxic particles. Tobacco smoke paralyzes the cilia, which leads to a large increase in mucus inside a smoker’s lungs. Because the lungs aren’t working properly and toxins aren’t being cleared efficiently, the smoker is more susceptible to respiratory diseases such as lung cancer and emphysema.
* The tar that collects in the lungs also alters the DNA of cells, making it difficult for them to repair themselves and leaving the smoker more vulnerable to infection and disease. Smokers often develop a persistent cough; because the cilia in the lungs aren’t working properly, coughing is the only way for them to remove irritants from their lungs. * The chemicals nicotine, carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide negatively affect the skeletal system by weakening bones. This can lead to osteoporosis. Plus, it may take much longer for a fractured or broken bone to heal. * Once carbon monoxide enters the bloodstream from the lungs, it slows the flow of oxygen throughout the body. This can make a smoker feel tired. Nicotine can cause headaches, dizziness and upset stomach. Tobacco also stains teeth, causes bad breath and decreases the ability to smell and taste. * The carbon monoxide and nicotine found in tobacco may cause throat, mouth and esophageal cancers. Those who use smokeless tobacco, such as chew or snuff, are much more likely to develop diseases of the mouth, including cancer of the mouth and gums.
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Different forms of tobacco and their effects
Where tobacco consumption is concerned, India is a unique country as its not only cigarette smoking but tobacco chewing and snuffing is also extremely rampant. Read on to know the different forms of tobacco and how they take a toll on our body By Dr Parul R Sheth
Tobacco use is rampant across the globe even when anti-tobacco measures have led to a decrease in smoking. There are 12 crore tobacco users in India; every 9th Indian consumes tobacco, 16% are cigarette smokers, 44% are bidi smokers and 40% are tobacco chewers and snuffers in the form of gutka, mishri, zarda, khaini, pan masala, chewing the betal quid (a combination of betel leaf, areca nut, slaked lime) and snuffing naswar. “India is unique in its methods of nicotine consumption”, says Dr Hemant Thacker, consultant physician and non-interventional cardiologist, Jaslok, Breach Candy and Bhatia hospitals, Mumbai. “While in the West it is smoking and smoking alone, here we have as many chewers and applicators as smokers especially if you also take into account the rural areas where it is quite common to find both sexes almost equally involved,” he reflects. Tobacco is a plant grown for its leaves, from which products are made, which can be smoked, chewed, or snuffed for a variety of effects. All contain an addictive psychoactive chemical nicotine. The carcinogens, tar and other harmful chemicals in tobacco harm nearly every organ of the body, cause many diseases and reduce the health of tobacco users in general. Smoking cigarettes or cigars
In a survey by the Government of India, 1 in every 5 male deaths and 1 in every 20 female deaths are caused by tobacco smoking. Cigarette smoking is very common amongst the youth while pipe smoking is seen more often amongst the older generation. Smokers have 20-25 times higher risk of developing cancer. Even if cigarette, pipe or cigar smokers never inhale, they are at an increased risk for lip, mouth, tongue, throat and larynx cancers. Over a span of years, chronic inhalation of tobacco smoke exposes your entire body – every tissue and cell to powerful mutagens and carcinogens resulting in cancers – cancer of mouth, nasopharynx, larynx, trachea, bronchi, lungs, oesophagus, stomach etc. Cigarette smoking is also the major cause of emphysema, a disease that slowly destroys a person’s ability to breathe and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis. Bidi smoking
A research study from Sekhsaria Institute of Public Health, Navi Mumbai, in collaboration with the ministry of health proved that bidis and other forms of tobacco such as gutkha are more harmful than cigarettes. “While the popular perception is that bidi is natural, hand-rolled and has fewer chemicals, it is as harmful as cigarette smoking if not more,” says Dr PC Gupta, the director of the Institute. In India, the bidi industry accounts for 48% of the tobacco consumption making them much more popular than cigarettes. Despite the small quantity of tobacco it contains, bidis deliver more carbon monoxide than cigarettes. Besides, bidi contains more particulate matter as they do not have filters. They also have more nicotine, as compared to cigarettes. Bidis also contain higher amounts of chemicals such as phenol, hydrogen cyanide, benzopyrenes, and ammonia. Hookah rage
Hookah has become a fad for youngsters today. Hookah bars, which serve as a place for smoking, have turned into social meeting places. A hookah is a water pipe used to smoke tobacco through cooled water. Shisha is the tobacco smoked in a hookah. It is a very moist and sticky tobacco that has been soaked in honey or molasses. There are a variety of shisha flavours including apple, plum, coconut, mango, mint, and strawberry. Hookah smoke is just as dangerous as cigarette smoke. Water-filtered smoke can damage the lungs and heart as much as cigarette smoke. Health risks of smoking hookahs include cancer, heart disease, lung damage, and dental disease. Sharing mouthpieces without washing them can increase the risk of spreading colds, flu and infections. Smokeless tobacco
Chewing tobacco is the most widespread form of tobacco use in India. According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey, conducted by the Health Ministry and the Indian Institute of Population Sciences, Mumbai, out of 35% adults using tobacco in India, 26% adults use chewing tobacco in some form or another. There are people who are addicted to smokeless forms of tobacco like khaini (a tobacco-lime mixture) or gutkha, which is responsible for India recording the highest incidence of oral or mouth cancer. Also, in India and Sri Lanka, where people chew tobacco with betel nuts, according to WHO reports, these cases account for as many as 50% of all cancers. Smokeless tobacco is used in various forms; finely ground tobacco or snuff, is either snorted or rubbed on the gums. Snus, a moist powdered tobacco product, a variant of dry snuff is consumed by placing it under the lip for long periods of time. It has been reported that long-term snuff users may be 50% more at a risk for cancer of the cheek and gums. In addition to cancer, smokeless tobacco is also believed to contribute to cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure because the nicotine gets into the bloodstream through the lining of the mouth and/or the gastrointestinal tract.
Side Effects of Gutkha
Mar 28, 2011 | By Linda Tarr Kent
Photo Credit palm tree image by david harding from Fotolia.com Gutkha is another name for betel nut. Small doses may bring about euphoria and increased energy flow, while large doses can cause sedation, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Due to its stimulant activity, gutkha is used in many areas of the world as a recreational drug. However, guthka, which is usually chewed, does have some side effects. Carcinogenic Effects
Betel nut has potentially carcinogenic constituents, according to the NIH. Long-term use can cause oral submucous fibrosis, a condition that makes it difficult to open the mouth. It can also lead to pre-cancerous lesions in the mouth and a cancer called squamous cell carcinoma. Regular use also may increase risk for other mouth cancers, as well as cancers of the liver, cervix, stomach, prostate and lung. Other acute effects can include rapid heartbeat, low blood pressure and worsening of asthma. advertisement
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Some people report breathing problems after using gutkha, according to the NIH. Some people experience wheezing and an increased breathing rate. While no documented allergic reactions exist in scientific literature, people who have allergies to other members of the Palmaceae, or palm, family theoretically may experience reactions to gutkha. Body Reactions
Chemicals in the betel leaves can cause skin color changes, along with dilated pupils and blurred vision. Seizures have been reported with high doses, according to Aetna InteliHealth. Gutkha also may cause or worsen conditions that involve muscle stiffness, tremors, difficulty moving certain parts of the body, and involuntary mouth or face movements. Toxicity
Some people experience toxicity symptoms from gutkha use, according to the NIH. These include increased saliva production, increased tearing, sweating, incontinence, diarrhea, flushing and fever. Other issues can include problems with eye movement, confusion, psychosis, amnesia or feeling euphoric. Withdrawal symptoms like anxiety and memory lapse can occur with long-term use. Short-Term Effects
Using gutkha can lead to vomiting, nausea, stomach cramps and diarrhea. It also can cause chest pain, either high or low blood pressure, raised skin temperature and irregular heart beat, according to the NIH. Betel chewing can harm gums as well, and people can experience burning and mouth dryness. Long-Term Effects
Other side effects of gutkha can lead to abnormal thyroid function and kidney abnormalities, advises Aetna InteliHealth, as well as metabolic syndrome, liver toxicity and immuno-suppression. It can also alter blood sugar levels and raise your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Sponsored Links
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Gutka (Hindi Gutka (Also spelled gutkha, guttkha, or guthka, Urdu گٹکھا,) is a preparation of crushed areca nut (also called betel nut), tobacco, catechu, paraffin, slaked lime and sweet or savory flavorings.It is consumed much like chewing tobacco, and like chewing tobacco, it is considered responsible for oral cancer and other severe negative health effects. Gutkha is a powdery, granular, light brownish to white substance. Within moments, the gutkha begins to dissolve and turn deep red in color. It imparts upon its user a “buzz” somewhat more intense than that of tobacco.Gutkha An other type Tobacco.
It is manufactured in India and exported to a few other countries. A mild stimulant, it is sold across India in small, individual-sized packets that cost between 2 and 10 rupees per packet.