How Smoking Can Increase Risk of Heart Disease

Quitting smoking is just so important when it comes to maintaining good heart health. For smokers, stopping smoking is just the most important step to take, if good cardiovascular health is your aim. Smokers need to realize that it is dangerous to resort to this deadly pursuit. Statistics point the way. Smokers are twice more likely to suffer a heart attack compared with those who have not smoked. While stopping smoking has massive benefits, it is never too late to quit, so don't feel you can't do anything about it if you are a smoker. By quitting, health can be improved and you can even lower chances of coronary heart disease risk, numerous cancers, and stroke. Feel better, and enjoy life without resorting to a cigarette and your heart will thank you for it.

How Does Smoking Damage The Heart?

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Smoking increases chances of the development of cardiovascular diseases including stroke and coronary heart disease. Smoking damages the arterial lining, leading to atheroma or build up of fatty material which leads to the narrowing of the arteries and may even cause blockage or damage. Smoking also raises the chance of developing cardiovascular diseases including stroke and coronary heart disease.

It simply works like this. Smoking damages the arterial lining leading to building up of atheroma. It leads to heart attack, angina or stroke. Carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke also lowers oxygen levels in the blood. Consequently, the heart pumps harder to supply the body with oxygen required. Tobacco is not the only problem. Nicotine during smoking stimulates the body for producing adrenaline, making the heart beat faster and raising blood pressure, causing the heart to work harder. Additionally, the blood also clots, raising the risk of stroke or heart attack. Cardiovascular diseases need to be studied to assess blood clots and damage caused to the body.

Second-hand Smoke and Your Heart

It's not just smokers who suffer on account of this deadly habit. Nonsmokers can also suffer from the ill effects of passive smoking. Breathing in second-hand smoke causes heart disease in nonsmokers, harming the health of friends, partners, and children.

Chewing Tobacco/Other Tobacco Use

Many people assume that chewing tobacco may be healthier. This is not so. It raises the risk of mouth, throat and esophageal cancer. It can also make teeth vulnerable to tooth decay and cause loss of teeth.

How Smoking Impacts the Heart

Specifically, smoking cigarettes causes an impact on vessels that supply blood to the heart and other parts of the body. It lowers the degree of oxygen in the blood and damages walls of blood vessels. Smoking leads to arteriosclerosis. It occurs when arteries are narrowed and clogged reducing blood supply and oxygenation throughout the body. Smoking also leads to stiffness of blood vessels making contraction and expansion easier and more likely to split.

Essentially, the heart muscle pumps blood to different parts of the body. This blood provides a body the oxygen and nourishment needed to work correctly and function effectively. The heart has a muscular wall separating two sides. Each side of the heart – left and right- are separated by muscular walls. On each side, there is an upper and lower chamber connected by valves directing the blood flow. The upper chambers are known as atria and the lower chambers are the ventricles. The heart's pumping is controlled by special fibers that send electrical signals to numerous chambers. The right side of the heart pumps the blood to the lung carrying important oxygen and nutrients. Blood enters towards the left of the heart from the lungs pumping oxygen and nutrients through the body through the medium of blood.

Additionally, coronary arteries supply the blood to the heart muscle. The left and right coronary arteries break apart many times to divide and spread over the muscle wall of the heart and provide oxygen and blood. Coronary arteries get blood from the aorta, a major artery taking blood to the remaining portion of the body.

Coronary Heart Disease and Smoking

Smoking also causes coronary heart disease, which is a chronic condition that affects people in the long term. This cardiovascular disease takes effect when fatty matter builds up in the arteries. This narrows it down further. The fatty material is called plaque – it builds up slowly and the process is known as arteriosclerosis. It starts when one is young and advances into middle age. Stable plaques are not harmful, but if the arteries narrow, it can lead to angina. Fat develops due to unstable plaque and leads to inflammation. Blood cells can seal the surface gaps with a blood clot. This partially or completely blocks arteries. In case the arteries become narrower, lower amounts of blood can reach heart muscles. This leads to angina symptoms. In case a blood clot forms in narrow arteries and blocks the supply of blood, this can cause a heart attack. While the narrowing and hardening of arteries or arteriosclerosis develop across decades, a major consequence is the sudden heart attack. Coronary heart diseases are hard to detect.

Recovery From Heart Attack

Recovery From Heart Attack
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Smoking is incredibly harmful as a heart attack takes place when arteries suffer when it comes to the supply of blood to the heart area. A heart is like any other muscle and like any other, it requires a healthy blood flow to stay functional. As one gets older, the inner smooth walls of arteries supplying blood to your heart can suffer damage and become narrower due to plaque, a fatty material.

When the plaque breaks, cells containing blood and various other blood parts cling to the area that suffers damage and leads to blood clotting. Heart attacks take place when blood clots block the flow of blood and reduce its reach to the heart, resulting in chest pain. Due to this, some heart muscles start to suffer. If the flow of blood is not quickly restored, permanent damage to heart muscles can result. Heart attacks are known as myocardial infection, coronary occlusions, acute myocardial infarction, coronary thrombosis, or more. These changes to arteries can lead to stroke, angina or heart attack. Smokers do not only suffer more angina, chest pain, heart attacks, and strokes but also do so at a younger age.

The risk of heart attack is 2 times higher for smokers. Stroke is 3 times higher for those smoking. For angina, the risk is higher by about 20 times. The peripheral arterial disease is 5 times higher in smokers. Those who smoke are 4 times more likely to fall prey to heart disease. It is also three times more likely to pass away from a sudden cardiac death.

Second-hand Smoke

Second-hand smoke can cause heart disease in passive, nonsmokers. Breathing in the toxic smoke damages arteries. Additionally, platelets in the blood can form clots after getting sticky. For those who have heart disease, second-hand smoke poses a greater threat.

How Does Smoking Lead to Heart Disease?

How Does Smoking Lead to Heart Disease?
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Cigarette smoking leads to lung cancer and breathing problems. It also leads to heart attacks, and in fact, each cigarette smoked makes it more likely to get heart disease. Close to one of 5 deaths from heart disease is directly impacted by smoking. Those who smoke are 2-4 times more likely to suffer from heart disease. This risk is higher for those who smoke and use birth control pills. Cigarette smoke is also not good for people around. Second-hand smoke or first hand, smoking clearly leads to heart disease.

Specifically, the nicotine in the smoke reduces the extent of oxygen got by the heart, raises blood pressure, speeding up the heart rate, it ensures blood clots are likelier exacerbating heart attacks or strokes. It also damages the insides of the blood vessels in the heart. Once a person stops, the odds of suffering from high blood pressure and heart disease will fall. After just 1-2 years of not smoking, one is less likely to get heart diseases. Losing the habit also makes it less likely to get lung cancer, and other types like emphysema, cancer and other serious conditions.

The tobacco smoke also contains chemicals that can damage blood vessels and the heart in different ways. The smoke contributes to inflammation triggering a build-up of plaque in arteries. Additionally, blood vessel walls can be damaged making the stiffness and elasticity tough to handle. This causes blood vessels to narrow and leads to damage caused by cholesterol levels that are unhealthy. It also disturbs normal heart rhythm and increases heart rate and make the heart work harder than usual. Lowering HDL or good cholesterol and raising LDL or bad cholesterol increases triglyceride levels. This is the type of fat located in the blood. It thickens the blood and makes it tougher to carry oxygen for the blood.

Smoking is a risk factor for coronary heart disease. This is a risky condition where the plaque builds within the coronary arteries. The heart muscle is supplied with oxygenated rich blood from arteries. So the buildup of plaque makes blood clots tough for arteries. Blood clots can completely or partially block blood flow. Across time, smoking leads to arteriosclerosis and raises the risk of suffering and dying from heart disease, heart attack or heart failure.

Compared with non-smokers, people who smoke are more likely to suffer heart attacks, especially for those who use birth control pills or have diabetes. Smoking is a clear risk factor for heart disease. When combining with other risk factors, such as lack of blood cholesterol levels, obesity, overweight or high blood pressure further exacerbate the impact of smoking.

There's even a disease known as peripheral artery disease which causes plaque build-up in arteries carrying blood to organs, head, and limbs. This can be impacted by smoking. It affects arteries carrying blood to the legs. Blocking blood flow to leg arteries can lead to pain, cramping, weakness, numbness in the lower extremities like thighs, hips and calf muscles.

Blockages in blood flow can also raise the chance of contracting an infection in the limb that is affected. Smoking can create deficits in immunity. Severely blocked blood flow leads to tissue death and gangrene, and in serious cases, it can cause amputation. The risk of heart disease and attacks is higher for those suffering from this arterial disease.

Smoking caused by the burning of the cigar, pipe or cigarette refers to smoke that is breathed out by people who smoke. Secondhand smoke causes chemicals that are tough to inhale when one smokes. It causes damage to the heart and blood vessels of people who don't smoke the same way as active smokers.

Smokers can damage heart tissues, lower HDL cholesterol and raise blood pressure. Risk of secondhand smoke is higher for premature infants with respiratory distress syndrome and asthma. Cigar and pipe smoke contains causes harmful chemicals like smoke from cigarettes. People who smoke cigars also are at increased heart disease risk.

side effects of nicotine
Photo by: Mikael Haggstrom/ CC BY

Cigarette smoking leads to 1 in 5 deaths in the US each year. This is one of the biggest causes of death and illness in many nations including America. Smoking damages nearly every organ in the body including blood vessels, lungs, heart, eyes, reproductive organs, mouth, bones, bladder, and organs for digestion. Chemicals in the smoke cause blood cells to be damaged in terms of structure and function. This impacts the functioning of the heart and the arteries. Arteriosclerosis is a disease where waxy plaque-like substance builds in the arteries. Across time, the plaque hardens and cause arteries to narrow. This limits blood supply which is rich in nutrients and oxygen to organs and other body parts. Over time, this can also lead to coronary heart disease and associated conditions like heart failure, heart attack, cardiac abnormalities or death. Any smoking even light or the occasional cigarettes, cause smoking and damage heart and blood vessels. Secondhand smoke can also lower good cholesterol, raise BP and damage heart tissues.

Quitting Smoking

Planning to get ahead with a quit smoking plan requires determination and more than just a strong will. It is important to stop smoking and stick to it. Write down reasons for quitting smoking and read lists each day, before and after quitting. Keep a record of when one smokes, why smoking takes place and what one does while smoking. Triggers that enable a person to smoke are important. Stop smoking cigarettes for some time, before quitting it entirely. Choose to focus your energies on other factors than smoking.

Check with your doctor about medication or using patches or nicotine gums. These aids can be extremely helpful. Joining a smoking cessation or support group works too.

Just watch out for matches, cigarettes or lighters. If you are not a smoker, you still need to watch out for cigarette smoke. Whenever the urge to smoke is there, hold it for around 10 seconds and exhale slowly. Change activities linked to smoking cigarettes.

Don't substitute food or any other sugary product for cigarettes. In other words, do not replace one addiction for another. Drinking plenty of fluids is also important, though alcohol and caffeine should be avoided. Exercise helps to relax and burn off stress. Get the support you need for quitting. Working with doctors to make plans is important. OTC nicotine replacement aids or prescription medication can help too.

Benefits of Quitting Smoking

A critical way to reduce heart disease risk is to avoid tobacco smoke. No matter what the length and duration of active or passive smoking, quitting always helps you and those around you. Try to avoid secondhand smoke. You should not go to places where smoking takes place. Quitting smoking reduces the risk of dying and developing heart diseases. Quitting also lowers the chance of developing arteriosclerosis and blood clots. Quitting also reduces the chances of a sudden cardiac attack, death from this condition or other chronic diseases.

Researchers have studied how communities that banned smoking have reduced their incidence of heart attack. The results are due to a decrease in active smoking and reduced exposure to secondhand smoke. Smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke damages blood vessels and the heart in diverse ways. Smoking is a risk factor for developing or succumbing to heart disease.

Quitting smoking is easy but it can be hard for those who have developed a habit for it. Numerous medicines, programs, and strategies are in place to avoid quitting smoking. Not smoking is also needed for a heart-healthy lifestyle and includes healthy eating and weight and management of stress as well as regular physical activity.

One of the best ways to reduce the chances of CHD is to avoid tobacco smoke. Smoking should not be started and if one smokes, quitting is important. Regardless of how long smoking has been going on, quitting can have a lot of benefits. Among persons who have CHD coronary heart disease and recurrent heart attacks or resulting death can be reduced by quitting smoking. Chances of developing a heart disease risk associated with smoking decreases soon after one quits. It continues to decrease for some people over time. Risk of arteriosclerosis and blood clots reduces over time once smokers quit.

Quitting smoking can reduce heart disease, common medicines can reduce heart disease risk including beta blockers, statins, ACE inhibitors, and aspirin. Quitting smoking can be hard. Many people have quit smoking and remain, nonsmokers, with 70 percent saying they want to leave this deadly practice for good in one survey.

Quitting at once (or cold turkey) or gradually cutting down on the cigarettes before quitting for good are just some of the ways you can kick the cigarette butt for good. Using methods that works for you is important. Stay motivated, get support and try new ways to cope with stress, then lighting up a cigarette. Join a stop smoking clinic or group. Additionally, use nicotine replacement products and medication to stop smoking. Be clear about the date and plan for giving up smoking and let your loved ones know about this important decision so that they can support you.

Conclusion

Choosing not to smoke is one of the healthiest decisions you will ever make. Kick this habit and you will do your health a favor apart from benefiting others around you. Smoking thrills, but kills and you need to make the right choices if you want a healthy heart and a healthy life.

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