Cigarette smoking causes 1 in every 5 deaths in the United States, making it the main preventable cause of death and illness. It’s no secret that smoking cigarettes can cause health issues ranging from Lung Cancer to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). But did you know that cigarette smoking is also to blame for heart diseases?
Cigarettes can harm nearly every organ in the body; lungs, mouth, reproductive organs, blood vessels, heart etc. The chemicals and smoke inhaled into the body from the cigarettes are lethal and can cause irreparable damage to your body. Cardiologist Dr. Satyabrata Chatterjee is all too familiar with the effects of cigarette smoke, as many of his patients have heart conditions stemming from smoking cigarettes. Here, Dr. Satyabrata Chatterjee explains how cigarette smoking can affect your heart and why you should stop now.
People who smoke are 4 to 5 times more likely to fall victim to heart disease. There are over 590 ingredients in cigarettes. When burned, the cigarette releases more than 7,000 chemicals in its smoke. The chemicals that are found in cigarettes- ammonia, butane, and formaldehyde to name a few- can harm you’re the structure of your blood cells and the functionality of your heart. Specifically speaking, the nicotine in cigarettes can also raise your blood pressure, make your more susceptible to blood clots, reduce your heart’s oxygen intake, and speed up your heart rate to an unsafe rhythm.
Some heart diseases that cigarette smokers open themselves up to include:
- Atherosclerosis: Plaque buildup in the arteries that restricts blood flow to limbs and organs.
- Coronary heart disease: Plaque buildup in the coronary arteries that restricts blood flow to the heart’s arteries.
- Stroke: When oxygen is not reaching the brain and brain cells begin to die off.
- Heart Attack: When the flow of oxygen is cut off to the heart muscles.
Additionally, when combined with other factors such as high blood pressure, poor cholesterol, and obesity, cigarette smoking can further raise your risk of heart disease
Though much if the damage done to smoking is irreversible, choosing to stop smoking immediately can greatly lower your risk of heart disease. Soon after you quit smoking, your risk for heart-related problems and even cancer can drop significantly. If you care about your heart and your health, consider a life without smoking to get your heart health on the right track.