Smoking And Your Heart Health
Most of the people know that cigarette and tobacco smoking increases the risk of breathing problems and lung cancer. But only a few realize that it also greatly increases the risk of heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, and abdominal aortic aneurysm.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studied the effects of cigarette smoking account for about millions deaths every year worldwide.
In fact, the death ratio is more due to smoking than the deaths combined from HIV, alcohol use, illegal drug use, motor vehicle accidents, as well as firearm-related incidents.
Also, about 80% of all the deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – COPD are due to those patients who were smokers.
What Does Smoking Do To Your Heart?
- Raise triglycerides – It is a type of fat in your blood
- Make blood sticky and more likely to clot, that can block blood flow to your heart and brain
- Lower good cholesterol – HDL
- Damage cells that line the blood vessels
- Cause thickening and narrowing of blood vessels
- Increase the buildup of plaque such as fat, calcium, cholesterol, and other substances in the blood vessels
A recent research has shown that smoking increases your heart rate, tightens major arteries, and can even cause an irregular heart rhythm. All these can make your heart work harder. Smoking raises blood pressure as well, which increases the risk of stroke.
Even though nicotine is the main active agent in the smoke of a cigarette, the other chemicals and compounds like carbon monoxide and tar are also harmful to your heart in plenty of ways.
They lead to the buildup of fatty plaque in the arteries possibly by injuring your vessel walls. They also affect cholesterol levels and levels of fibrinogen – a blood-clotting material which increases the risk of a blood clot that leads to heart attack or stroke.
Remember, there is never ever a safe amount of smoking. Although people who are light smokers or smoke only occasionally they are no exceptions in damaging their blood vessels and heart.
Women who smoke and use birth control pills, as well as smokers who have diabetes, are increasing their risk of stroke and heart attack greatly.
Why Shouldn’t You Breathe Secondhand Smoke?
Even breathing secondhand smoke harms your health. It is the smoke from burning tobacco products – the smoke breathed out by the smoker.
Also, breathing secondhand smoke can cause a person coronary heart disease, that includes stroke and heart attack.
- It causes nearly 34,000 early deaths each year from coronary heart disease among nonsmokers.
- Secondhand smoke exposure causes each year more than 8,000 deaths from stroke.
- The nonsmokers who breathe secondhand smoke at work or at home increase their risk of developing heart disease by at least 25–30% and increases the risk of stroke by 20 to 30%.
- Breathing that smoke interferes with the normal functioning of your blood, heart, as well as vascular systems in ways that increase your heart attack risk.
- Briefly breathing the secondhand smoke can also damage the lining of blood vessels and can cause your blood to become stickier. They can cause a deadly heart attack.
How Can You Prevent Heart Diseases?
- Avoid breathing secondhand smoke
- Limit alcohol use
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Eat low-fat, low-salt foods most of the time and fresh fruits and vegetables
- Exercise regularly
- Get other health conditions like diabetes under control
Why Should I Quit Smoking?
Smoking is the most vital preventable cause of death worldwide. Once you decide to quit, you’re already on your way to a healthier heart as well as a reduced risk of heart disease and strokes. But quitting smoking has its other benefits such as
- You will live longer. A recent statistics show that smokers who quit between the ages of 35 – 39 can add an average of 6 – 9 years to their lives.
- You will look better and feel healthier. Once you quit smoking, you will be able to exercise longer, you will have more energy, and your skin and teeth will look way better.
- Your sense of smell and taste will return. Smoking is as well linked to the inability to identify smells and to a reduced sense of taste.
- You’ll reduce your risk of developing the other health related conditions. Smokers who quit are immediately reducing their risk of throat and lung cancer, COPD, asthma, gum disease, and cataracts, as well as cardiovascular diseases.
Probably, in the first couple of days or weeks of quitting, you will have cravings for the cigarettes, you may feel hungry, get headaches, as well as experience constipation.
These symptoms are due to the withdrawal from nicotine, and they eventually will pass. In order to be smoke-free for a long term, you will need to keep your guard up. Also, if you have a setback, never fail to acknowledge it and refocus on your plan as well as your new and healthier lifestyle.