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How Does Smoking Relate To Heart Attack And Atherosclerosis

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Smoking And Heart Disease Risk

Coronary heart disease, clogged arteries and atherosclerosis

Smoking is a major risk factor for , a condition in which plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries. These arteries supply your heart muscle with oxygen-rich blood.

When plaque builds up in the arteries, the condition is called .

Plaque narrows the arteries and reduces blood flow to your heart muscle. The buildup of plaque also makes it more likely that blood clots will form in your arteries. Blood clots can partially or completely block blood flow.

Over time, smoking contributes to atherosclerosis and increases your risk of having and dying from heart disease, , or a .

Compared with nonsmokers, people who smoke are more likely to have heart disease and suffer from a heart attack. The risk of having or dying from a heart attack is even higher among people who smoke and already have heart disease.

For some people, such as women who use birth control pills and people who have diabetes, smoking poses an even greater risk to the heart and blood vessels.

Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease. When combined with other risk factorssuch as , , and smoking further raises the risk of heart disease.

What Kind Of Testing Can Be Done To Measure Your Heart Health If You Are A Regular Smoker

Different tests which can be useful for evaluating your heart health include echocardiograms, carotid artery ultrasounds, renal artery ultrasounds, and peripheral arterial disease testing. These sonograms and tests can allow for visualization of your heart, carotid arteries, renal arteries, and vascular flow in your extremities.

Smoking And The Immune System

We now know that chronic inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders are risk enhancers for cardiovascular diseases and that there are increasing data that relate a state of low-grade inflammation both to stable cardiovascular disease and to cancer, therefore it can be speculated that the effects of smoking on immune system does have an impact on CVDs.

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Drugs Smoking And Gender

Smoking might influence the plasma concentration of several drugs primarily by interfering with their metabolism, as previously discussed for estrogens .

Gender differences in drug metabolism have also been described and involve multiple metabolic pathways. Indeed, pharmacokinetic differences may be responsible for alterations in pharmacodynamic responses. For example, -blockers and calcium channel blockers have been demonstrated to have gender-specific responses . Pharmacokinetics differences in metabolic pathways have been associated with greater drug exposure in female subjects. To our knowledge, there are no studies designed to identify the influence of medication on both gender and smoking. However, if a smoker takes a drug that is metabolized primarily by the CYP1A2 system, an increased dose may be required .

What Are The Symptoms Of Coronary Heart Disease

Smoking

Coronary heart disease develops slowly, and you may not experience any symptoms in the early stages of the disease. Many people only discover that they have coronary heart disease when they experience chest pain or have a heart attack.

Symptoms of heart attacks can vary between different people, and especially between men and women.

Women are more likely to experience:

  • shortness of breath
  • greater tiredness than usual.

If you feel a sudden pain in your chest, or you are concerned that you may be having a heart attack, call triple zero and ask for an ambulance this is an emergency.

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Smoking And Your Heart And Blood Vessels

The chemicals in tobacco smoke harm your blood cells. They also can damage the function of your heart and the structure and function of your blood vessels. This damage increases your risk of .

Atherosclerosis is a disease in which a waxy substance called plaque builds up in the arteries. Over time, plaque hardens and narrows your arteries. This limits the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your organs and other parts of your body.

occurs if plaque builds up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart, called coronary arteries. Over time, heart disease can lead to , , , , or even death.

Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease. When combined with other risk factorssuch as , , and smoking further raises the risk of heart disease.

Smoking also is a major risk factor for . P.A.D. is a condition in which plaque builds up in the arteries that carry blood to the head, organs, and limbs. People who have P.A.D. are at increased risk for heart disease, heart attack, and .

How Smoking Causes Heart Disease

The major cardiovascular consequence of smoking is that it greatly accelerates the development of atherosclerosis . Smoking worsens atherosclerosis in several ways:

  • Smoking increases LDL cholesterol blood levels and reduces HDL cholesterol blood levels.
  • Tobacco products contain numerous toxic chemicals that can irritate the blood vessel walls, increasing inflammation, and damaging and “stiffening” the vessel walls.
  • Smoking increases adrenaline levels, which raises the blood pressure and cardiac stress, causing constriction of blood vessels.
  • Smoking substantially increases the tendency of blood to form clots within blood vessels, thus increasing the risk of acute coronary syndrome the condition that produces heart attacks and unstable angina.

In addition to accelerating atherosclerosis, smoking tobacco has other deleterious effects on the cardiovascular system:

  • The nicotine in tobacco contributes to the increase in heart rate and blood pressure seen after smoking a cigarette.
  • Smoking increases serum homocysteine levels, which is thought to cause vascular injury.
  • Smoking increases carbon monoxide blood levels, reducing the bloods capacity to deliver oxygen to the tissues.

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The Impact Of Passive Smoking On Atherosclerotic Disease

Passive cigarette smoking is associated with a smaller increase in the relative risk of coronary heart disease than is active cigarette smoking, but this increase is nevertheless relevant. Epidemiological studies have shown that the risk of ischaemic heart disease in non-smokers exposed to tobacco is increased by 30%, almost half that of smoking 20 cigarettes per day .

How Does Smoking Relate To Heart Attack And Atherosclerosis

How Smoking Raises Heart Disease Risk | Heart Disease

The chemicals in tobacco smoke harm your blood cells. They also can damage the function of your heart and the structure and function of your blood vessels. This damage increases your risk of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a disease in which a waxy substance called plaque builds up in the arteries.

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How Does Smoking Affect Your Cardiovascular Health

When you breathe in air from the atmosphere, the lungs take in oxygen and deliver it to the heart, which pumps this oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body through the blood vessels. But when you breathe in cigarette smoke, the blood that is distributed to the rest of the body becomes contaminated with the smokes chemicals. These chemicals can damage to your heart and blood vessels,1 which can lead to cardiovascular disease the leading cause of all deaths in the United States.2

CVD is a generic term referring to multiple conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels3. Some of these conditions include:

  • coronary heart disease

Acute Effects Of Smoking A Cigarette

Several of the deleterious effects that are produced by smoking are relatively acute. Changes in the heart rate and blood pressure, the negative clotting effects, and even some of the chemical changes within the blood vessels can occur immediately when you light up. The acute elevation in cardiovascular risk after smoking a cigarette persists for up to 72 hours.

Thats the bad news. The good news is: this means that even a chronic smoker can substantially reduce their cardiovascular risk within a few days of stopping.

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Benefits Of Quitting Smoking And Avoiding Secondhand Smoke

One of the best ways to reduce your risk of heart disease is to avoid tobacco smoke. Don’t ever start smoking. If you already smoke, quit. No matter how much or how long you’ve smoked, quitting will benefit you.

Also, try to avoid secondhand smoke. Don’t go to places where smoking is allowed. Ask friends and family members who smoke not to do it in the house and car.

Quitting smoking will reduce your risk of developing and dying from heart disease. Over time, quitting also will lower your risk of atherosclerosis and blood clots.

If you smoke and already have heart disease, quitting smoking will reduce your risk of , a second heart attack, and death from other chronic diseases.

Researchers have studied communities that have banned smoking at worksites and in public places. The number of heart attacks in these communities dropped quite a bit. Researchers think these results are due to a decrease in active smoking and reduced exposure to secondhand smoke.

Plaque Presents A Double Threat

Vascular Health  Arteriosclerosis / Atherosclerosis # ...

Plaque itself can pose a risk. A piece of plaque can break off and be carried by the bloodstream until it gets stuck. And plaque that narrows an artery may lead to a blood clot that sticks to the blood vessels inner wall.

In either case, the artery can be blocked, cutting off blood flow.

If the blocked artery supplies the heart or brain, a heart attack or stroke occurs. If an artery supplying oxygen to the extremities is blocked, gangrene, or tissue death, can result.

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What Are The Benefits If I Quit Smoking

  • Within 20 minutes, your blood pressure and pulse rate decrease.

  • After 2-3 days your sense of smell and taste improve

  • Within 2 to 12 weeks, your lungs increase in their capacity to hold air, making breathing easier and providing you with more energy.

  • Within 5 to 10 years, your risk of suffering from lung cancer falls by half risk of stroke and cancer of the mouth, throat, oesophagus and pancreas also decreases

  • Within 15 years, your risk of cardiovascular disease is almost that of non-smokers

After a year, your risk of having a heart attack is half that of a smokers

Nicotine May Be Bad For Arteries

Study Links Nicotine Exposure, Even From Low-Nicotine Cigarettes, to Hardening of Arteries in Mice

Sept. 14, 2007 — New research shows that nicotine from cigarette smoke may promote hardening of the arteries , even with low-nicotine cigarettes.

Atherosclerosis makes heart attacks more likely.

The new study focuses on mice, not people. But the researchers say the findings may help explain why smoking is a risk factor for heart disease.

“The best thing to do is quit” smoking, says Daniel Catanzaro, PhD, of Cornell University’s Weill Medical College, in a news release.

That’s easy to say but often hard to do. If you’re one of the many smokers who want to quit smoking, experts say it may take several attempts to kick the habit, but it’s worth the effort.

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What Age Do Most Smokers Die

The study shows that smokers die relatively young. An estimated 23 percent of consistent heavy smokers never reach the age of 65. This is 11 percent among light smokers and 7 percent among non-smokers. Life expectancy decreases by 13 years on average for heavy smokers compared to people who have never smoked.

Cardiovascular Risk Of Smoking And Benefits Of Smoking Cessation

Atherosclerosis (Hardening of Arteries) | Heart Disease

Giuseppina Gallucci1, Alfredo Tartarone2, Rosa Lerose3, Anna Vittoria Lalinga4, Alba Maria Capobianco2

1 Department of Onco-Hematology, Division of Medical Oncology, 3 Pathology Unit, IRCCS-CROB Referral Cancer Center of Basilicata, Rionero in Vulture , Italy

Contributions: Conception and design: G Gallucci, A Tartarone Administrative support: None Provision of study materials or patients: None Collection and assembly of data: None Data analysis and interpretation: None Manuscript writing: All authors Final approval of manuscript: All authors.

Correspondence to:

Keywords: Cardiovascular diseases tobacco smoking secondhand smoke

Submitted Feb 05, 2020. Accepted for publication Feb 28, 2020.

doi: 10.21037/jtd.2020.02.47

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How Will I Feel When I Quit Smoking

It probably will be tough for a while, but it’s worth it.

You may crave cigarettes, be irritable, feel hungry, cough often, get headaches, or have trouble concentrating. These symptoms of withdrawal happen because your body is used to nicotine, the active addictive agent within cigarettes.

You’ll probably notice it most during the first 2 weeks after quitting. When it happens, remember why you’re quitting. Tell yourself that these are signs that your body is healing and getting used to being without cigarettes.

The withdrawal symptoms won’t last. They’re strongest when you first quit but will usually go away within 10 to 14 days.

You may still want to smoke, especially with certain people or during situations where you’re used to smoking. If you smoke again, start over. Most people quit three times before they’re successful. Plan ahead and think about what you’ll do next time you get the urge to smoke.

Health Risks Of Atherosclerosis

If left to get worse, atherosclerosis can potentially lead to a number of serious conditions known as cardiovascular disease . There will not usually be any symptoms until CVD develops.

Types of CVD include:

  • coronary heart disease the main arteries that supply your heart become clogged with plaques
  • angina short periods of tight, dull or heavy chest pain caused by coronary heart disease, which may precede a heart attack
  • heart attacks where the blood supply to your heart is blocked, causing sudden crushing or indigestion-like chest pain that can radiate to nearby areas, as well as shortness of breath and dizziness
  • strokes where the blood supply to your brain is interrupted, causing the face to droop to 1 side, weakness on 1 side of the body, and slurred speech

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Smoking And Blood Pressure

Whereas the influence of smoking on lipid levels and insulin resistance is well documented, data on the effect of smoking on blood pressure are conflicting. In 2010 Virdis et al. stated that cigarette smoking has an acute hypertensive effect mediated by the stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system. For chronic smoking available data do not prove that smoking directly induces hypertension, and smoking cessation does not lead to a reduction of blood pressure values, either. Nevertheless, the effect of smoking on arterial stiffness may have a greater impact on central blood pressure that is related to target organ damage more closely if compared to brachial blood pressure . In a more recent study Saladini et al. investigated the effect of smoking on peripheral and central blood pressure in a group of young stage I hypertensives . Central systolic blood pressure and pulse pressure were higher in smokers than in nonsmokers, thus implying a predominant effect on central blood pressure .

Get Medicine And Use It Correctly

Atherosclerosis

Talk with your doctor and pharmacist about medicines and over-the-counter products that can help you quit smoking. These medicines and products are helpful for many people.

You can buy nicotine gum, patches, and lozenges from a drug store. Other medicines that can help you quit smoking are available by prescription.

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Learn New Skills And Behaviors

Try new activities to replace smoking. For example, instead of smoking after a meal, take a brisk walk in your neighborhood or around your office building. Try to be regularly.

Take up knitting, carpentry, or other hobbies and activities that keep your hands busy. Try to avoid other people who smoke. Ask those you can’t avoid to respect your efforts to stop smoking and not smoke around you.

Remove cigarettes, ashtrays, and lighters from your home, office, and car. Don’t smoke at allnot even one puff. Also, try to avoid alcohol and caffeine.

Can Coronary Heart Disease Be Prevented

You can prevent coronary heart disease by reducing or eliminating your risk factors. A Heart Health Check with your doctor or nurse will help you to identify your risk factors, and to build a plan to change them.

If your doctor thinks you may already have coronary heart disease, they will ask you to take some tests to confirm their diagnosis. These may include:

  • a blood test to check your cholesterol levels
  • a blood pressure check
  • an electrocardiogram or an echocardiogram
  • an angiogram

If you have coronary heart disease, your doctor will help you build a personalised plan for improving your symptoms and preventing heart attacks.

If you have had a heart attack, it is even more important you manage your risk factors and follow your treatment plan. Make sure you check in frequently with your healthcare team.

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In addition to permanently damaging your heart and blood vessels, cigarette smoke can also cause CVD by changing your blood chemistry1,2 and causing plaquea waxy substance comprised of cholesterol, scar tissue, calcium, fat, and other material3to build up in the arteries, the major blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to your body. This plaque buildup can lead to a disease called atherosclerosis.

When the chemicals in cigarette smoke cause atherosclerosis and thickened blood in the arteries, it becomes more difficult for blood cells to move through arteries and other blood vessels to get to vital organs like the heart and brain.4 This can create blood clots and ultimately lead to a heart attack or stroke, even death.1,2

Other rare but serious cardiovascular conditions that can be caused by smoking include:

How Is Smoking Related To Heart Disease And Stroke

Atherosclerosis

Smoking is a major cause of cardiovascular disease and causes one of every four deaths from CVD.9 Smoking can:10

  • Raise triglycerides
  • Lower good cholesterol
  • Make blood sticky and more likely to clot, which can block blood flow to the heart and brain
  • Damage cells that line the blood vessels
  • Increase the buildup of plaque in blood vessels
  • Cause thickening and narrowing of blood vessels

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