Smoking and Your Heart
Time and again, medical professionals have warned against the health hazards brought about by smoking. While there are some who heed this warning, there are those who are not yet aware of how smoking can not only damage your lungs but also increase your risk for cardiac diseases. In fact, in the US alone, smoking has been one of the causes for more than 400,000 deaths.
What does smoking do to your heart?
Smoking has been shown to cause the narrowing of the blood vessels. This takes place when you inhale the carbon monoxide released by your cigarette. This carbon monoxide causes the red blood cells to take in lesser amount of oxygen. Apart from this, the carbon monoxide also promotes build up of cholesterol along the lining of the blood vessels which, in turn, leads to your heart having to work twice as much.
Nicotine, a major ingredient in any cigarette, on the other hand, is known for increasing blood pressure as well as narrowing of the blood vessels. What makes nicotine even more toxic is the fact that it can stay in your blood stream for around 6 to 8 hours (and even more!) depending on how much you smoke each day.
Not many people may know it but another ingredient that can be found in the cigarette is Arsenic. Primarily used in order to preserve wood, arsenic in the human body can cause not only cancer but a number of heart diseases, including ischemic heart disease.
Cadmium can also be found in cigarettes. Commercially, cadmium are used in batteries. When taken in, it can hamper the repair of DNA. Aide from this, studies have shown that cadmium can also damage the lining of the arteries leading to what is known as aneurysm. According to statistics, around 30,000 people in the US alone suffer from ruptured aneurysm, so much so that about one aneurysm ruptures every 18 minutes.
As a whole, smoking has also been shown to deplete the amount of good cholesterol in the body. At the same time, it raises your blood pressure, albeit temporarily, and causes your blood to clot. Now, you might say that blood clotting is important in wound management. However, this is not the case when there’s no would in the first place. A blood clot along your blood vessels can cause aneurysm which, in turn, can lead to cardiac arrest.
How do I stop smoking?
There is no one-size-fits-all manner when it comes to stopping your addiction with cigarettes. While the cold turkey solution might work for some, it might not be the best idea for you especially if you have been a long-time smoker. Keep in mind that, in some, quitting smoking can cause a number of withdrawal symptoms. If you think cold turkey is not the way for you, you might want to consider using nicotine patch, vaping, or slowly decreasing the number of sticks you consume each day. All of these allow your body to get used to lesser and lesser amount of nicotine.
Since smoking increases the likelihood of heart diseases, it would be a good idea to make sure that you have an AED unit on hand just in case you, or someone you know, suffers from cardiac arrest.