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Every 33 seconds, a person dies of heart disease in America. And smokers have upto 400% greater chance of getting heart disease. The negative impact of smoking on health is so great that it is considered as the most significant preventable cause of disease and death in the United States.Recipe for disaster – how smoking forms a substantial part of the equation for heart disease
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Cigarette smoke contains nearly 4800 chemicals including nicotine. Nicotine adversely affects the heart and causes:
- Build up of fatty substances in the blood vessels, leading to their narrowing (atherosclerosis)
- Decreased amount of oxygen available to the heart and other organs
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased tendancy for blood clotting
- Increased cholesterol level
All these increase the risk of heart disease. Decreased amount of oxygen makes it more difficult for the heart to function. Also with increased blood pressure, the heart has to do more work to pump the same amount of blood. In such a state, if a blood vessel supplying the heart gets blocked (due to vessel narrowing and increased tendancy to clot), it leads to death of that area of the heart, resulting in a heart attack.
The deadly cocktail
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Smoking isn’t the only risk factor for heart disease. Obesity, sedentary lifestyle, diabetes are also major risk factors. When smoking is coupled with the other risk factors, they form a deadly cocktail that is truly devastating for the heart.
What about passive smoking?
Cigarette smoking not only affects smokers, but also those who are frequently near smokers. Passive smoking (also known as second hand smoking) has also been associated with cardiovascular disease and death. The victims are mainly children of parents who smoke. Nearly 40,000 people die from heart disease caused by inhaling other people’s smoke each year in America.
Read about the top 10 reasons to quit smoking.
Ready to start your heart healthy life, read 5 Steps towards a healthier heart