Smoking and the Heart

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Most people associate cigarette smoking with breathing problems and lung cancer. But smoking is also a major cause of cardiovascular disease. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about the effects of cigarette smoke on the heart in the 60 Second Housecall.

Most people know that smoking is bad for your lungs and can cause cancer. However, fewer may be aware of the effects of smoking on the heart and the circulatory system.

When you smoke, toxic chemicals from tobacco enter your bloodstream. Some of these chemicals send signals to your heart to beat harder and faster.

Smoking causes blood vessels to constrict, forcing blood to travel through a smaller space. Both of these effects cause high blood pressure. Smoking also lowers good cholesterol in your body and increases the likelihood of plaques collecting on the inside of blood vessels.

Smoking increases your risk of heart attack and stroke.

There are many benefits to quitting smoking. They include:

h Reducing the risk of heart disease by almost half

h Reducing the risk of having a blood clot

h Reducing the chances of developing several different kinds of cancer, and

h Reducing the risk of developing emphysema

Quitting smoking can be a difficult process but is well worth the effort.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.