Smoking & Heart Disease: Understanding the Link

Heart disease is the world’s biggest killer. Despite the huge improvement in the field of medicine, cardiovascular diseases remain to be a serious public health concern because of the high mortality risk. More research is still needed to come up with a magic bullet drug that can reverse heart problems and lower the risk of those who are predisposed to it.

bigstock-Cigarettes-tied-with-rope-and--31704809But science has shown over again that proper lifestyle is the key to a healthy heart. This includes a balanced diet, regular physical activity, and less alcohol and absolutely NO SMOKING.

How Smoking Kills Your Heart

With every cigarette you smoke, you are increasing your risk of developing heart disease. Roughly 1 out of 5 deaths from heart disease is directly related to smoking. Studies show that people who smoke are two to four times more likely to get heart disease. The risk is even greater for women who smoke and also take birth control pills.

So how does smoking affect your heart? Let’s first talk about the role of nicotine. This addictive compound harms your heart in many ways. First, it reduces how much oxygen your heart gets. Second, it raises your blood pressure. Third, it speeds up your heart rate. Fourth, it makes blood clots more likely, which can lead to heart attacks or strokes. And last but not the least – it harms the insides of your blood vessels, including those in your heart.

How Does Quitting Help?

Your body goes through dramatic improvements the moment you stop smoking. Soon after you stop, your odds of getting heart disease or high blood pressure will drop. After 1 to 2 years of not smoking, you’ll be much less likely to get heart disease.

Aside from reducing your risk of heart disease, quitting smoking today will also significantly reduce your risk of developing other chronic illnesses, particularly lung cancer and many other types of cancer.

Quitting Smoking Now

If you’re an older adult who smokes, you must consider quitting now. As you age, your risk of heart disease increases. Continuing the habit of smoking only speeds up the possibility of you suffering from a major heart problem. It pays to plan ahead, so you can keep an eye to your target. Set a quit date, consult your physician, and get support from your family and friends. If smoking has been a part of your life for many years, you might find it hard to stop without professional intervention. Ask your doctor about medications you can use. And don’t forget to incorporate healthy lifestyle changes to speed up the recovery of your heart and other parts of your body.



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