Most people know that smoking tobacco is bad for their health. It’s been linked to lung cancer and severe respiratory issues. It also does a number on your heart health. Here’s how.
Cigarette smoke contains so many chemicals in it (about 400), so anyone who is exposed to it, even second-hand, can suffer harm. Two of the most dangerous chemicals are nicotine and carbon monoxide.
Nicotine is a powerful drug that makes people become addicted to smoking. It has been shown to contribute to high blood pressure and arteriosclerosis, that is, hardening of the arteries. In terms of blood pressure, every time you light a cigarette, the nicotine causes your blood pressure to increase because it causes your blood vessels to constrict or narrow. It also boosts your heart rate, making your heart work harder to do its job, that is, pump blood efficiently.
A diet high in cholesterol can cause arteries to narrow due to the cholesterol forming plaque and narrowing and hardening the arteries as well. If the blood supply to the heart from one of the coronary arteries becomes blocked, it can lead to a heart attack. A heart attack can led to damage to the heart and perhaps even death.
Carbon monoxide from cigarette smoke also makes your heart work harder because it replaces some of the oxygen you are supposed to be breathing in to keep your body healthy. Your arteries carry oxygen-rich blood from the heart to all parts of the body. However, if the blood is carrying less oxygen and more carbon monoxide, it is like slow suffocation. It makes your heart work even harder to supply the oxygen your body needs to keep all the tissues healthy.
Carbon monoxide affects everyone in the immediate area around the smoker. If you care about your health, quit, or take it outside because smoking makes others ill with second-hand smoke.
Smoking affects the lungs, making them less efficient in terms of the oxygen they are able to take in that will then enrich the blood being pumped from the heart. Emphysema and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) make your lungs act in a similar way as if you were breathing through a straw, not your nose and mouth, gradually starving you of oxygen,
It will be tough, but so worth it. Quit smoking and see what a difference it can make to your health. Here are tips to get you started.