You have probably heard that smoking is dangerous for your health, especially your cardiovascular health. You probably often wonder what relation exists between the two. Well, studies show that the chemicals present in cigarettes are to blame for heart disease. Scientist estimate that there are over 5,000 different chemicals present in cigarette smoke, 60 of which are particularly toxic. Even the chemical that gives smokers a high, nicotine, is also rather dangerous for your heart. Here are the four major ways that smoking is ruining your health and increases your risk of coming down with heart disease.
How is Smoking Dangerous for your Heart?
1. Damages Arteries
Cigarette smoke has tons of chemicals that are harmful. They destroy the lining of your arteries by facilitating a build-up of fatty material. This clogs your arteries, thus reducing their diameter a great deal. The net effect of this is that your heart has to pump harder to get blood to all parts of the body. The extra strain placed on your heart weakens it and makes it susceptible to such diseases as stroke, heart attack, and angina.
Nicotine, the psychoactive chemical in cigarette smoke, also plays a major role in increasing one’s chances of suffering from heart disease. The chemical stimulates the heart to produce a lot of adrenaline. This fight or flight hormone then elevates the heart rate thus placing a lot of unnecessary strain on it. The chemical has also been linked to high blood pressure which also makes the heart vulnerable to many diseases.
3. Blood Clots
Another way through which smoking endangers your heart is by making your blood prone to clotting. This increases your chance of getting heart disease and myriad other heart diseases several-fold.
4. Carbon Monoxide
Smoking has also been associated with high levels of carbon monoxide in the bloodstream. This gas is extremely dangerous because it displaces oxygen in the blood. Hemoglobin, the blood component that transports oxygen in the blood, has a higher affinity for carbon monoxide than for oxygen. This means that it will circulate the poisonous gas at the expense of oxygen, which can prove fatal. It also means that your heart has to work harder to pump oxygen to all body organs, which often leads to an overworked heart. This is terrible for your heart in every sense of the word.
It is an undeniable fact that smoking is more than harmful to your body, particularly your heart. It damages your arteries, induces unnecessary excitement to your heart, lowers your heart’s ability to absorb enough oxygen and leads to dangerous blood clotting. To make matters worse, smoking not only harms you but all those around you. They too may suffer the very same effects as you do. Keep in mind that those most likely affected by your smoking habits include your immediate family and close friends.
This is why you should consider quitting as soon as you can. Seek medical counsel to figure out the best way to quit given your lifestyle. It’s not an easy task but with the right support and treatment, you can overcome your smoking addiction.