There is a general awareness among us regarding the association of smoking and lung cancer, but what most of us are unaware of is the fact that smoking is responsible for various cardiovascular diseases.
Smoking is generally associated with respiratory diseases and lung cancer, but contrary to popular belief, smoking is a major cause of cardiovascular diseases. According to the American Health Association, “Cigarette smoking is the most important preventable cause of premature death in the United States, accounting for 440,000 of the more than 2.4 million annual deaths.” Studies have proven that smokers are at a higher risk of numerous cardiovascular diseases. Women who smoke and are on birth-control prescription are at a higher risk of heart diseases.
Smoking Cause Cardiovascular Diseases
The heart depends on arteries for the circulation of blood. Smoking causes a condition known as atherosclerosis, generally known as “the hardening of arteries”. Cigarette smoke contains more than 3000 chemicals including carbon monoxide and nicotine which damage the inner lining of coronary arteries. These chemicals aid the deposition of cholesterol which clogs the arteries and this clogging reduces the supply of oxygen to heart, putting the body to a risk of heart attack.
There are various other heart diseases that are associated with smoking. Smoking aggravates the condition of hypertension leading to malignant hypertension. Smoking reduces the level of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and leads to an increase in the low-density lipoprotein levels. The chemicals in smoke cause accumulation of cholesterol in your coronary arteries. This again, increases the chances of heart attacks and various other strokes. Smoking causes hormonal imbalance as it arouses the body to produce higher levels of adrenaline and cortisol. Smoking has also been associated with difficulty in breathing, which is very crucial in case of a heart attack.
Numerous studies have proved that smokers are at a higher risk of various cardiovascular diseases, including fatal heart attacks. People who smoke around fifteen cigarettes a day are two to four times more likely to have a heart attack once in their lifetime. Smoking ‘light’ or ‘mild’ cigarettes has little effect on reducing the ill-effects of smoking.
There are several other diseases that attribute their cause to smoking, lung cancer and respiratory diseases being the prominent ones. Besides lung cancer, smokers are at a high risk of contracting throat and gullet cancer. Smoking also leads to a condition known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). People suffering from COPD experience difficulty in breathing along with frequent coughing. Smoking is also related to various sexual dysfunctions and may lead to infertility in women.
Smoking might be putting your loved ones at risk as studies have shown that passive smokers are also at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. It is important therefore, that you put in your best effort to get rid of this habit. Many people are put off by the thought of quitting smoking as they feel that they have been smoking all their life, so quitting won’t make a difference, but numerous studies have revealed that by quitting, you reduce the chances of a heart attack by 50%. Over a course of a decade, the risk becomes as low as that of a non-smoker.
There are myriad options available for people who want to quit smoking. There are numerous “Stop smoking” drugs available in the market today. Another way to kick the habit is to undergo a nicotine replacement therapy. If you find that you are facing issues with quitting, you can always take the help of a counselor. Remember, we all were born non-smokers and if we are determined enough to kick the butt, we can do it.