Heart Diseases Caused by Smoking
By now you’re probably aware that there are many health risks associated with smoking. The government requires a certain disclosure about these health risks, and most people have heard about these possible effects whether they smoke or not.
However, if you look at all the possible risks that come with smoking, you may be surprised by what you would find. Heart disease is usually listed as one of the primary health risks for the long-term smoker.
Most people are aware of the risk of lung cancer and other pulmonary problems. After all, it is pretty obvious that if cigarette smoke is dangerous and that smoke is inhaled through the lungs, then the lungs are vulnerable to various diseases. But why does smoking increase the risk of heart disease?
Well, we can start by examining what heart disease really is. If we use the term cardiovascular disease, this includes the heart along with the body’s entire system of blood vessels. The major problem with smoking is that it harms blood vessels which can in turn the lead to a heart attack or stroke.
The first culprit in cigarette smoke is carbon monoxide. This compound binds with hemoglobin, which is the molecule that carries oxygen in a red blood cell. This interferes with the transportation of oxygen, and less oxygen increases the chances of heart disease.
The second compound is, of course, well known to most smokers and nonsmokers alike. Nicotine decreases the amount of good cholesterol which thus allows fat to be deposited on the walls of an artery.
When you combine the above affects with the lack of exercise on the part of many smokers, the risk of heart disease is greatly increased. This often happens because smoking itself causes fatigue and shortness of breath, which discourages the smoker from participating in exercise.
When it’s all said and done, a heavy smoker has a much higher risk of developing heart disease. The good news is that the situation begins to reverse itself immediately after you quit smoking. After 5 to 15 years, your odds of developing heart disease are about as high as someone who has never smoked. Get started today, and it could add many years to your life.
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