Smoking and Heart Health
Smoking has countless negative effects on a person’s body – whether that be increased chance of cancer or causing gum disease and tooth loss – and your heart is not immune to the damage either. If you think about your respiratory system, you breath in oxygen that is absorbed into your blood then distributed to the rest of your body. Just imagine what happens when you inhale the smoke from a cigarette and all the chemicals that come with it. When you breath in smoke and chemicals you also reduce the amount of oxygen that your heart gets, and consequently the rest of your major organs get less oxygen too. This can cause a host of negative issues throughout the body.
Further, nicotine is a stimulant, causing your heart rate to increase and your blood pressure to rise. The effects of nicotine impact your circulatory system by condensing blood vessels, hardening arterial walls, and leading to a higher chance of heart attack or stroke. The chemicals from cigarettes can lead to cardiovascular disease (CVD) – due to changing the body’s blood chemical composition and creating an environment for plaque build-up – the leading cause of death in the United States. The statistics provided by the American Heart Association state that CVD is responsible for upwards of 800,000 deaths a year in the United States.
Have you converted to e-cigarettes thinking it is better than smoking traditional cigarettes? Think again. Studies show that e-cigarettes are harmful too and some of their impacts could be even greater. Nicotine use in the youth has risen drastically since the introduction of e-cigarettes. This is causing a renewed and graver-than-ever public health concern after years of improvement in smoking statistics.
To boot, not only are you putting your own health at risk, but that of everyone around you exposed to breathing in the smoke from your cigarettes.
What Should You Watch Out For?
You can never be too cautious when it comes to your heart health. If you have a history of smoking and experience an increased or irregular heart rate, chest pain, or any change that raises alarm, go see a doctor. There are active measures you can take to improve your heart health and/or prevent further damage. To maintain a healthy heart, you should be making a conscious effort to exercise regularly, eat a well-balanced diet, stay hydrated, and get an efficient amount of sleep.
The Bottom Line
Quit smoking. Regardless of whether you are plugging in your cigarette at the end of the day or putting it out in an ash tray: smoking is detrimental to your health. It is never too late to overcome a bad habit and replace it with a healthy one. There are countless guides, programs, and support groups you can take part in to quit smoking. You are not alone! Talk to your doctor about steps you can take to promote heart health by quitting.
If you are interested in seeing a doctor about your heart health, visit our new patient information page and request an appointment.