It’s natural for you to focus on what smoking does to your lungs. You can feel the cough, the labored breathing, and the gradual deterioration happening inside. But if there is something you need to be more concerned of it is the effect of smoking to your circulatory system. You read it right, circulatory diseases linked to smoking kills more smokers that lung cancer. And the damage – starts as early as your first puff.
Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and organs through the blood vessels, your blood’s super highways. A healthy blood vessel is covered with a thin layer of cells that facilitates smooth blood flow. When you smoke or inhaled second hand smoke, the carbon monoxide and nicotine cause damages to this thin layer of cells. Without these cells, fats and plaque can now stick on the walls of your blood vessels.
Every time nicotine is delivered into your brain, the “fight or flight” defense is activated. Stored fats are then immediately released to your blood streams to provide the sudden surge of energy. This is the reason why you feel a boost when you light a cigarette and allows you to skip meals. This is also the same reason for the sugar fluctuations when you try to quit.
Now, with your damaged artery walls and the continuous release of stored fats worsens the clogging and hardening of your blood vessels and causes vascularization, the growth of new blood vessels within your blood vessels.
When your arteries and blood vessels get totally blocked, heart attack or stroke may occur. The heart muscle that is linked to that blocked artery suffocates and dies quickly, and you may suffer from a heart attack. And when an artery linked to a particular part of the brain gets totally blocked, you suffer from stroke.
The effects of smoking to your body due to damaged and clogged blood vessels are not limited to your heart and brain. It go further to all parts and organs of your body, from your skin to your reproductive organs. Premature balding, wrinkled and dry skin, tooth loss, and impotency in men, are only some indications of damaged blood vessels. When your skin is deprived of oxygen and nutrients, it loses its luster and elasticity causing you to look older than your age. Male smokers experience difficulties achieving erection because of clogged arteries in their penises.
There is no need for debate as to which part of your body gets the most damage or which requires the most attention. One thing is sure, smoking harms your body and everyone else around you. But the good thing is, if you quit smoking now your body can still heal and recover from the ill effects of smoking.