Nearly every organ in the body is affected by tobacco use, and smoking can result in a variety of health risks and complications. The entire cardiovascular system is affected by smoking and over time it can lead to serious health problems such as stroke or heart failure.
Second hand smoke refers to either the smoke exhaled by a smoker or the smoke produced by the burning end of a cigarette, cigar, or pipe. It can damage the heart and blood vessels of non-smokers in the same way that smoking damages the heart and blood vessels of smokers. According to the CDC, approximately 34,000 non-smokers die annually from heart disease due to exposure to second hand tobacco smoke.
Smoking has the following effects on your cardiovascular health:
Atherosclerosis is characterised by the and stiffening of the arteries due to plaque build-up. Plaque inhibits blood flow, making it difficult for blood to reach other parts of the body. Cigarette smoke aggravates atherosclerosis by increasing inflammation, and promoting cholesterol and plaque accumulation within the arteries. Additionally, smoking causes hypertension, which increases the likelihood of atherosclerosis. This is because high blood pressure places additional strain on the arteries, making them more prone to stiffness and cholesterol build-up.
Arrhythmia is a condition characterised by an irregular heartbeat. It is also referred to as an irregular heart rhythm. Tobacco use induces cardiac fibrosis, or scarring of the heart muscle. This can result in a rapid or irregular heartbeat, also known as tachycardia. The presence of nicotine in cigarettes also raises the heart rate, resulting in tachycardia.
Coronary Heart Disease:
Coronary heart disease (CHD) occurs when the coronary arteries in the heart are unable to deliver enough blood to the heart. Smoking can lead to CHD through atherosclerosis and high blood pressure. Also, the chemicals in cigarettes can thicken the blood, thereby leading to the formation of clots that can block coronary arteries.
Smoking promotes the formation of clots and plaque in blood vessels. If this occurs in the brain, it leads to a stroke.
If smoking obstructs the flow of blood to the heart, it can lead to a heart attack (also known as a myocardial infarction). The heart muscle begins to deteriorate in the absence of sufficient oxygen-rich blood. The risk of heart attack is over twice as high for smokers as for non-smokers.
Heart failure is the inability of the heart to pump enough blood to the body. Multiple conditions can result in heart failure and Smoking increases the risk of heart failure because it contributes to these conditions. For example, CHD and arrhythmia are conditions caused by smoking.
Peripheral Arterial disease:
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) occurs when the blood vessels that supply the arms, hands, legs, and feet become too narrow. By causing inflammation and atherosclerosis, cigarette smoking can lead to PAD. This can inhibit the delivery of oxygen-rich blood to your extremities.
Quitting smoking is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your heart. Smokers who quit smoking can experience rapid health improvements. The results of quitting smoking include:
Reduces Heart rate:
Smoking increases heart rate and blood pressure. According to research (Ref Link), your heart rate is likely to drop to its normal rate within 20 minutes after you stop smoking.
Improves blood flow to your heart:
Cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide, which makes it difficult for adequately oxygenated blood to reach your heart. However, according to research (Ref Link), carbon monoxide levels in your blood will return to normal as early as 12 hours after you quit smoking.
Reduces the risk of heart attack:
As your blood pressure returns to normal, your risk of having a heart attack decreases. This occurs within 12 to 24 hours of giving up smoking.
Reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke:
Your risk of coronary heart disease decreases by 50% after one year of quitting smoking (Ref Link), and will be nearly equivalent to that of a non-smoker after 15 years. After 4 years of quitting smoking, your risk of having a stroke decreases and will be the same as a non-smoker’s.
There is no denying that smoking is incredibly detrimental to your overall health—particularly your heart health. From increasing inflammation throughout the body to damaging artery walls and reducing oxygen availability in blood cells, cigarettes are one of the most dangerous substances you can introduce to your body—especially when it comes to protecting your heart health. If you’re a smoker, quitting now is one of the best things you can do for yourself—and those around you—to ensure long-term health and wellbeing.
Beyond quitting cigarettes, the best way to make sure your heart is healthy is to use a heart rate monitor that constantly checks your cardiac health. Purchase the revolutionary Frontier X2 and get started on your journey to a healthier tomorrow!
Heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer are more common in smokers than in non-smokers.
Smoking increases blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease.
It also increases the formation of plaque in the arteries (atherosclerosis), which contributes to the development of other heart conditions.
Quitting smoking improves heart health by decreasing heart rate, improving blood flow to the heart and by lowering blood pressure.
Nicotine replacement products help smokers in quitting the habit. They contain less nicotine, but neither tar nor the toxic by-products of tobacco use. Nicotine chewing gums, Nicotine patch are few examples of Nicotine replacement products.
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