How Does Smoking Cause Heart Disease?
While lung cancer receives most of the attention from cigarette smoking, in reality many more people die at a young age from circulatory problems than lung diseases. If there were fewer deaths from smoking induced heart problems, we would actually have a much higher death rate caused by lung cancer.
Not that smokers really need to undergo substance abuse treatment, but smoking does affect one’s health, and they therefore need to quit or even get treated if need be before it’s too late.
‘Cigarette smoking lowers HDL cholesterol levels and is directly responsible for approximately 20% of all deaths from heart disease .’
Smoking is no doubt a major factor in causing individuals to develop cardiovascular diseases. But why?
How Does Smoke Affect Cholesterol?
Smoking tobacco in any form, even cigars, will have the effect of increasing LDL cholesterol and decreasing HDL cholesterol. It also slightly increases triglycerides. This is a triple whammy because it negatively affects all your cholesterol levels. Cholesterol levels have a direct correlation with coronary artery disease also known as atherosclerosis.
Smoking and Atherosclerosis
Studies done by the Department of Medicine, Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Goteborg, Sweden determined that smokers over a period of 8 weeks that smoked fewer cigarettes had clinical improvements in heart disease risk factors and continued to improve after an additional period with cessation . Cardiovascular risk factors were measured including cholesterol, triglycerides, hematocrit, hemoglobin, and fibrinogen. This proved that reduced smoking and cessation caused a decrease in risk for atherosclerosis and other heart diseases.
Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease
There are six risk factors that one can make a change to reduce the risk of heart disease. Smoking happens to be one of them. While many find it hard to quit smoking, with persistence and a strong desire to change one can achieve their goal of smoking cessation.
Harmful Cigarette Chemicals
There are somewhere around 4,000 chemicals inside a cigarette and not one enhances our bodies in any way. The following two are the most harmful to us:
- Nicotine – the chemical often associated with causing people to become addicted to smoking. Nicotine also has negative effects on the arteries throughout the body. It speeds up the heart, raises blood pressure (aka hypertension), and constricts the arteries throughout the body.
- Carbon monoxide – this chemical robs the heart of its oxygen supply and combined with nicotine increases blood clotting and clogging.
Circulation and Smoking
Smokers have an increased risk of forming blood clots, which in turn causes serious circulation problems. They also have artery clogs, which are not a total blockage but a gradual build up of fat deposits. Both clots and clogs can have a serious effect upon one’s health.
The heart has to work harder to overcome these negative effects, which means that it requires more oxygen. This is where carbon monoxide does a number on the oxygen in the blood. So it needs more oxygen, but it has less oxygen. A vicious circle that perpetuates into a nasty situation for the smoker.
Another issue is that clotting and clogging occur in not only the heart, but all over the body. This brings up a condition only found in smokers called Buerger’s disease in which circulation to fingers or toes is completely cut off causing gangrene. Gangrene is only treated by amputating the affected part. Seeing images of these terrible things should be enough to scare anybody into quitting. Do your best to never smoke again and avoid its high cost to your health.
TIP: Telmisartan May Help You
Telmisartan, also known as Micardis, is a hypertension medication used in order to aide high blood pressure which directly raises the threat of coronary heart disease.
 A.D.A.M. Healthcare Center
 Effect of Smoking Reduction and Cessation on Cardiovascular Risk Factors