Smoking affects every organ in the body. The leading cause of death among young smokers is lung cancer, heart disease, and respiratory problems. Smoking does not have to be chronic to affect the heart and blood vessels. Light smokers are also at high risk of heart diseases. The heart requires a safe environment to perform its functions.
When the environment is clogged with tar, carbon monoxide, and other carcinogens, severe heart conditions may develop. Studies have revealed that one in every five smokers die of heart and respiratory problems. The deaths are often premature as many people who die are below the age of fifty. Smoking impacts the heart and blood vessels in many ways.
Coronary Heart Disease:
Coronary heart disease is the most common heart condition among smokers. It is brought by the accumulation of plague in the arterial walls resulting into thinning of the arteries. Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood to the heart from the lungs.
The plague is caused by the buildup of tar, a black substance that is produced from cigarette smoking. A chronic smoker builds up tar over time and causes the plague to accumulate in the arteries. When the arteries thin out, there is an insufficient supply of oxygenated blood to the heart.
When plague completely blocks the coronary arteries, no blood gets to the heart. A heart attack can occur leading to death. A heart attack is a medical emergency that can result in death if not addressed immediately. When blood fails to reach the heart, the muscles are damaged completely.
A heart attack begins with a sharp pain in the chest like the pressure is being applied or the chest is being squeezed. This pain moves to the jaw, neck, and arms. The patient then experiences shortness of breath and weakness. If you experience such symptoms, call an ambulance immediately.
Sometimes, the plaguing of the blood vessels does not get to the point of blockage. The thinning is referred to as atherosclerosis. Most smokers have a condition where the hands are unusually cold. This is as a result of the poor supply of oxygenated blood to the hands. Other organs are equally affected by the insufficient supply of oxygenated blood.
As a result of this condition, diseases such as coronary heart disease may occur. When plaque builds up in the arteries near the neck, the conditions called carotid artery disease. Smoking is just one of the causes of atherosclerosis. Other factors such as age and genetics can cause this condition. However, smoking puts one at risk of getting it.
Peripheral Artery Disease:
Severe atherosclerosis also causes this condition. The blood supply to the limbs becomes insufficient. The symptoms of this condition include pain in the limbs and difficulty in walking. Most smokers experience this kind of condition as smoking is one of the top risk factors for peripheral artery disease. The condition can lead to blood clot formation that can result in cardiac arrest, high blood pressure, and stroke.
Smoking creates a good environment for blood clots to occur. Smoking makes the blood thicker and prone to clotting. A cigarette contains over 4,000 carcinogens that can lead to the thickening of the blood. When the blood gets sticky, a clot could give rise to an automatic heart attack. It doesn’t matter where the clot forms.
Nonsmokers increase their chance of cardiovascular diseases by 25% when they inhale tobacco smoke. This secondhand smoke could be from a burning cigarette or directly from the nose and mouth of a smoker. It is approximated that over 34,000 people die annually in the USA from secondhand smoke.
These people are usually non smokers. It is advisable to report careless smokers to the relevant authorities. You should never allow a person to smoke in your house or car. This is because you will have inhaled more smoke than the actual smoker. It is better to be safe than sorry.
If you haven’t started smoking, do not go down that road, and if you are a smoker, you can still stop or try out safe methods such as e-cigarettes. You can still enjoy the taste of tobacco in the commercially produced tobacco e-juice and safeguard your heart and blood vessels.