3 Major Effects of Smoking on Your Heart
Previous research suggests that it would take 15 years after smokers quit before they can lower their risk of stroke, heart failure and heart disease to the level of those who never smoked. But according to a new study, they can actually cut their risk in 8 years or less, especially the light to moderate smokers.
Problems with heart health are among the leading causes of premature death in America and elsewhere. In the United States, one in five deaths is attributed to cigarette smoking. Tobacco contains thousands of chemicals that are toxic in nature, some are even carcinogenic. There’s no wonder why it harms every organ in the body, including the brain, lungs, kidneys, digestive system, and the heart.
The new study involved 853 former smokers who were 65 years of age and above, who quit smoking 15 or fewer years ago. Their overall health status was then compared with about 2,500 people who never smoked. Half of the smokers in the study quit 8 or fewer years ago.
37 percent of the smokers who participated in the study were “light smokers”, defined as people who had smoked less than 32 “pack years”, or 3.2 packs per day for 10 years, or less than a pack for 30 years. They found that the light-to-moderate smokers who quit more recently had just about 14 percent chance of dying from heart attack, stroke and heart disease, compared with the 22 percent chance for former heavy smokers. Still, both the light and heavy smokers continued to have a higher risk of death from other causes, such as cancer and emphysema, the researchers wrote.
Your Heart on Smoking (Other Major Side Effects)
Impaired blood flow and damaged blood vessels.
The effects of smoking on the heart begin with the blood vessels. The nicotine in tobacco, along with the carbon monoxide and other chemical compounds damage the Teflon-like layer of the blood vessels which are important in ensuring proper blood
Smoking has a direct effect on the heart of smokers. But it also has negative impact on the health of non-smokers who are chronically exposed to it. Research revealed that secondhand smoke increases the risk of children and young adults contracting coronary heart disease in the future.
flow. Such damage leads to the build-up of fats and plaque in the walls of the blood vessels. This in turn increases the risk of arthrosclerosis – a condition in which a waxy substance called plaque. Over time, the plaque hardens and narrows the arteries, an effect which limits the flow of blood to your organs.
Arthrosclerosis and Peripheral Arterial Disease
Arthrosclerosis is a known factor for coronary heart disease, which then ultimately leads to chest pain, heart attack, heart failure and even death. Smoking is also a risk factor for peripheral arterial disease – a condition in which plaque build-up is formed in the arteries that carry blood to the head, limbs and other organs. People with peripheral arterial disease are at high risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
Damaged Heart Tissues and High Cholesterol Levels
Smoking has a direct effect on the heart of smokers. But it also has negative impact on the health of non-smokers who are chronically exposed to it. Research revealed that secondhand smoke increases the risk of children and young adults contracting coronary heart disease in the future because it impairs the balance between the good and bad cholesterol, raises blood pressure and damages heart tissues.
One of the best ways to reduce your risk of heart disease is to quit now. There’s no such thing as “too late” when it comes to quitting smoking. But of course, the earlier you do, the better.