How Smoking affects your heart health? | Artemis Heart Centre

Artemis Hospital

January 20, 2024 |
9 Min Read | 194

Today, tobacco smoking is a vital public health issue. Smoking is dangerously harmful and has hazardous effects. Tobacco smoke retains more than 7,000 chemicals. When these chemicals are inhaled, it impedes the functionality of your body.

According to World Health Organization, more than 8 Million people die each year because of smoking worldwide. Smokers negligently reduce their life expectancy by 13 years. Isn’t this shocking enough?

Cigarette smoking comes with “Smoking is injurious to health” warning. However, smokers hardly get affected by this. Most of the new smokers are children and teens. Everyone knows that smoking is dangerous for lung cancer. However, it directly or indirectly affects nearly every organ of the human body.

Do you know that smoking affects your heart majorly and has an increased risk of heart diseases? Smoking doubles the risk of heart and blood vessels related diseases. How does smoking affect the heart health of a human? Let us dive in further to know about this in detail.

First, let us state some facts:

  1. Nicotine chemical present in Tobacco smoke increases the blood pressure and heart rate and reduces oxygen flow to the heart.
  2. Carbon monoxide chemical present in Tobacco smoke replaces oxygen in the human blood, resulting in a reduced supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart.
  3. Ammonia chemical present in Tobacco smoke affects cardiovascular health to dangerous levels.
  4. Cigarettes contain toxins that cause artery blockage through plaque formation and other sticky substances.
  5. Every 5th smoking-related death happens because of heart disease.

Various chemicals present in cigarette smoke are Nicotine, Carbon monoxide, and Tar. These chemicals cause severe damage to the human heart and blood vessels and lead to cardiovascular disease (CVD) in humans. The risk of increasing CVD is directly proportional to an increase in the consumption of cigarettes each day. It turns out an even greater risk for people with diabetes and women who use birth control pills.

Whether one is a regular smoker, a light smoker, or an occasional smoker, the heart is at equal risk for all. However, non-smokers are also indirectly prone to cardiovascular diseases. Secondhand smoke also affects heart health and is likely to increase the risk of heart disease by 30%. Secondhand smoke is the smoke breathed by smokers and created by the burning ends of cigarettes, cigars, pipes, or others. It affects the non-smoker who is regularly exposed and lives around the smokers in the same ways with less risk. According to American Health Association, secondhand smoke causes around 38,000 deaths due to heart and blood vessel disease.

Some of the major cardiovascular diseases caused by smoking are:

  1. Heart Attack –

A heart attack (also called myocardial infarction) happens when the blood flow to the heart is either reduced or completely blocked, and the heart muscle does not get enough oxygen supply. Smoking causes the blockage of blood flow to the heart. Due to the lack of oxygen-rich blood, the heart muscles start to die leading to a heart attack.

  1. Stroke –

Stroke is a condition that occurs when the blood supply to the brain is either reduced or gets blocked. The nicotine and carbon monoxide chemicals of cigarette smoke increase the blood pressure and hence the decreased supply of oxygen in the blood. Due to this, the arteries carrying blood to the brain get clogged. Smoking doubles the risk of getting a stroke.

  1. High Blood Pressure –

High Blood Pressure is a condition that occurs when the blood in the arteries tends to flow with a higher force than usual. This condition is also known as hypertension. The nicotine chemical present in cigarette smoke causes constriction of the blood vessels increasing blood pressure.

  1. Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) –

CHD occurs when the coronary arteries fail to bring enough blood to the heart or develop cholesterol blockages. The cigarette smoke chemical causes the thickness of blood and forms clots inside the veins and the arteries. It causes the artery to narrow down and the clot blockage further leads to heart attacks due to loss of oxygen and sometimes even sudden deaths.

  1. Aneurysms –

Aneurysm is an abnormal enlargement of the wall of an artery. It is a condition observed in the aorta, the main artery in the abdomen for the blood flow in the body. When the aorta wall weakens, a bulge is formed around the aorta. The use of tobacco further weakens the walls even more which leads to the rupture of aneurysms. It may also result in the sudden death of the human.

  1. Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) –

This occurs when the arteries are too narrow that they cannot deliver sufficient blood to the head, organs, arms, hands, legs, and feet and affects blood circulation. This condition usually occurs due to inflammation and atherosclerosis that leads to plague formation. People with PAD are prone to an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and coronary heart diseases.

  1. Atherosclerosis –

This occurs when the arteries become narrower and less flexible due to fatty plaque formation. Plaque is formed by the substances like fat, cholesterol, and scar tissue in the blood. This plaque builds up in the walls of arteries which makes them sticky. This hinders the proper blood flow to other body parts. The chemical present in the smoke thickens the blood arteries making the movement of blood cells through the artery more difficult. It also causes inflammation.

  1. Arrhythmia –

Arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat, either too fast or too slow than the usual heart rhythm. This condition is a fault in the heart’s electrical signal. The nicotine chemical contributes to the generation of fibrosis in the heart. Smoking triggers cardiac fibrosis which leads to Arrhythmia. Also, Secondhand Smoke triggers change in the heart’s electrical signals and increase the risk.

How do you know if you are facing heart problems?

A smoker generally does not know if his life is at risk until he has a heart attack or stroke.

The symptoms to look out for:

  • Chest Pain
  • Heart Failure
  • Heart Attack
  • Arrhythmia
  • Excessive phlegm
  • Breathlessness
  • Light headedness

If you are a regular smoker, you must visit a Heart Hospital in Patna and get your heart and cardiac care done. Get different tests to check your heart condition and consult the doctor for precautions for your heart, arteries, and blood vessels. If you do not deal with your cardiovascular and heart problems at the right time, your life may be at risk. Choose the right Heart Hospital for yourself.

Benefits of Quitting Smoking 

For a heart-healthy lifestyle, quitting smoking will be a big step. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, it will benefit in the following ways:

  • Heart and blood vessel problems can get Cardiac Care.
  • Life expectancy rate increases.
  • Your Heart Rate drops to the usual level just 20 minutes after you quit and your blood pressure becomes normal.
  • Your body will feel healthier and happier.
  • The carbon monoxide level returns to normal after 12 hours you quit.
  • Heart Attack risk drops after 12-24 hours after you quit.
  • The smell and taste sense improves after 2-3 days of quitting.
  • The risk of coronary heart disease decreases by 50% after one year of quitting.
  • The risk of stroke also drops after four years you quit.
  • The risk of other diseases and conditions also gets reduced.

How to Quit Smoking? 

It is undeniable that quitting smoking can be very arduous but it is not impossible. With strong determination and dedication, one can become a non-smoker within a short period. Smokers who decide to quit, see frequent positive changes in their bodies. It improves the heart condition and decreases CVD risk. However, it becomes difficult to know where to start. Consulting a doctor will help you improve your heart conditions. Getting Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) can help you in numerous ways.

Nicotine replacement therapy is the most commonly used measure to quit. This therapy provides smokers with products that supply a dose of nicotine in a form other than harmful chemicals. These are in the form of Gums, Patch, Inhalers, Nasal Spray, or Lozenges.

You can also follow some of the following:

  • Consult Heart Hospital for help
  • Smoking cessation medications
  • Take medicines
  • Get help from the healthcare sector.
  • Hypnosis and Acupuncture therapy
  • Joining a support group
  • Doing Exercises

Undoubtedly, smoking kills people’s life. Smokers should know the benefits and why it is vital to quit smoke. To live a smoke-free life, you must follow either one or a combination of measures to live a healthy life. It might take you a couple of tries to quit smoke but try not to get discouraged along the way. Consider following positive lifestyle changes that help you live a healthy life. As said, Better Late than Never. Quit Smoking today for a Healthy and Better Tomorrow. It will be the best decision of your life.

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