Did you know that smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths in the United States every year? Smoking not only increases your chances of contracting lung cancer, but it can also lead to gum disease, asthma, and coronary heart disease. Smoking’s effect on your heart can be lethal. In fact, according to the American Heart Association, approximately one-third of deaths from coronary heart disease occur due to smoking.
Chemicals in tobacco smoke
As reported by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are more than 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke. These chemicals enter your bloodstream and compromise your blood cells. The smoke damages the function and structure of your blood vessels, which can lead to atherosclerosis: a disease that causes plaque to build up in your artery walls, which leads to narrowing of the blood vessels.
Coronary heart disease
If plaque has built up in your arteries, then oxygen-rich blood cannot easily flow to your organs. If plaque builds up in your coronary arteries, this can lead to coronary heart disease. This disease can cause chest pain, heart failure, heart attacks, arrhythmia, and strokes.
Affects people around you
Cigarette smoke does not just affect smokers, but also the people around smokers. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 34,000 early deaths occur every year due to coronary heart disease from secondhand smoke. Also, more than 8,000 deaths occur every year due to strokes caused by secondhand smoke. You do not have to be around secondhand smoke for long for it to affect your body. Even short-term exposure to cigarette smoke may increase your risk of heart attack and plaque build up in your artery walls.
Prevent heart disease
One easy way to prevent heart disease is to quit smoking! If you’ve never smoked before, then don’t start. There are numerous health benefits to quitting smoking. Quitting smoking will dramatically lower your risk of blood clots, stroke, lung cancer, and heart disease. You will also be less likely to develop ulcers, gum disease, and throat cancer. After you quit smoking, you will immediately feel healthier and more energetic. Not to mention your skin and teeth will begin to look better.
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American Heart Association
Post contributed by Natalie Cassidy: An avid health and fitness enthusiast. Natalie enjoys creating new healthy recipes and hitting the gym as often as possible. She believes that a healthy lifestyle leads to a happy lifestyle.