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Smoking Causes Heart Attack

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Cardiovascular Risk Of Smoking And Benefits Of Smoking Cessation

Effects of Smoking : How Does Smoking Cause a Heart Attack?

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

Building Your Motivation To Stop Smoking

While 70 percent of smokers say they want to quit smoking, only about 20 percent report wanting to quit in the next 30 days. If you are not yet ready to quit, you can still take steps to move forward in the process. For example:

  • Read information on the health benefits of quitting smoking. Make a list of the benefits that are important to you.
  • Identify the risks of tobacco use that most concern you.
  • Track the number of cigarettes you smoke each day to become more aware of your use of tobacco and to identify ways to limit your smoking.
  • Talk with your doctor to learn more about available treatments for quitting.
  • Talk with friends who have quit smoking and ask them how they did it.
  • Make your home and car smoke-free zones. This will increase your awareness of your tobacco use, protect your friends and family from secondhand smoke, and support your efforts with quitting.

Risk Of Plaque Instability

Smoking does two things that lead to cardiovascular disease, Dr. Davis says. First, smoking increases the development of plaque deposits of fatty substances and other debris inside arteries. Second, smoking makes plaque more likely to form clots that can block arteries and cause heart attacks or strokes, a process known as plaque instability.

A key finding in this study is that at a population level, we see that smoking is associated with an increase in heart attack as the initial symptom of coronary disease, Davis says. This is consistent with smoking leading to plaque instability.

The study results also suggest that it may not take decades of smoking for plaque instability to develop, Davis says. Instead, this can happen in younger adults, contributing to the increased risk that a heart attack or stroke might be their first indication that they have cardiovascular disease.

The good news, however, is that plaque accumulation and instability can be reversed when people quit smoking, Davis says. After 10 to 15 years of not smoking, a person’s heart disease risk returns to looking like that of a nonsmoker.

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How Will I Feel When I Quit Smoking

It probably will be tough for a while, but itâs 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.

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

The withdrawal symptoms wonât last. Theyâre 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 youâre used to smoking. If you smoke again, start over. Most people quit three times before theyâre successful. Plan ahead and think about what youâll do next time you get the urge to smoke.

Some Facts About Tobacco Smoke

Why to quit smoking: Heart attacks caused by âsticky bloodâ

Tobacco smoke contains thousands of chemicals including:

  • nicotine an addictive drug that affects brain and muscle activity and increases your blood pressure, making your heart work harder
  • carbon monoxide a poisonous gas that replaces oxygen in your blood, reducing the supply of oxygen to your heart and other organs
  • tar a sticky substance that coats your lungs like soot in a chimney, making it harder for you to breathe. Tar contains dozens of chemicals that cause cancer.

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Does Marijuana Use Lead To An Increased Risk Of Heart Attack

The biggest concern so far has been about smoking marijuana over any other method of consumption because its the preferred method for most users. Smoking marijuana seems to increase the stress on the heart. It releases large concentrations of carbon monoxide in the blood that have been associated with all sorts of cardiovascular issues, such as heart attacks, chest pain, and irregular heart rhythm.

We also know that THC interacts with the receptors found in the sympathetic nervous system which activates the fight or flight response. When you smoke marijuana, THC activates these receptors which may, in turn, cause an increased heartbeat and blood pressure, as well as constriction of the blood vessels, all of which can increase the risk of a heart attack .

Scientific Research From The American Heart Association

The American Heart Association has been researching the effects of marijuana use on cardiovascular health for a while now. One statement claimed that cannabis use poses a risk to cardiovascular health, though more research is critical.

Firstly their research shows that after one hour of smoking or vaping cannabis, THC can cause heart rhythm abnormalities including:

  • Tachycardia

Secondly, THC stimulates the sympathetic nervous system which can cause:

  • Higher heart rate
  • Increased oxygen demand by the heart
  • Higher blood pressure
  • Dysfunction in the arterial walls.

Furthermore, smoking and inhaling cannabis may cause cardiomyopathy, angina, heart rhythm abnormalities, heart attacks, other serious cardiovascular conditions, and even a sudden cardiac death as a result of the THC content in weed.

However, consuming CBD products derived from industrial hemp plants didnt have the same results on users.

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Smokers Especially Those Who Start Young Face Higher Risk Of Early Death From Heart Disease

Smokers face nearly three times the risk of early death from heart disease and stroke compared to people who never smoked, according to new research that found smokers who began before age 15 had the highest risks.

Earlier research in Cuba found a link between childhood smoking and a higher risk for premature death overall. In this new study, published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association, investigators set out to determine if the findings applied in other populations. They used U.S. National Health Interview Survey data from 390,929 adults, ages 25 to 74, collected between 1997 and 2014.

The researchers were surprised at how consistent the findings were with other studies, “both in terms of the substantial risks associated with smoking and with the health benefits of quitting smoking,” lead study author Blake Thomson, an epidemiologist at the University of Oxford in England, said in a news release.

“The age at which a person begins smoking is an important and often overlooked factor, and those who start smoking at a young age are at especially high risk of dying prematurely from cardiovascular disease. However, quitting can substantially reduce that risk, especially for those who quit at younger ages. Getting people to quit smoking remains one of the greatest health priorities globally,” he said.

But the data held some hope. Those who quit smoking by the age of 40 reduced their excess risk of early death from cardiovascular disease by about 90%.

Smoking And Your Heart And Blood Vessels

Quitting Smoking Reduces Your Risk of Heart Attack

Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease.

The chemicals you inhale when you smoke cause damage to your heart and blood vessels that makes you more likely to develop atherosclerosis, or plaque buildup in the arteries.

Any amount of smoking, even occasional smoking, can cause this damage to the heart and blood vessels. Smoking poses an even greater risk for some people, especially for women who use birth control pills and people with diabetes.

If you have other heart disease risk factors such as unhealthy blood cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and overweight or obesity, smoking raises your risk of heart disease even more.

Smoking also increases your risk for peripheral artery disease . PAD is when plaque builds up in the arteries that carry blood to your head, organs, arms, and legs. People who have PAD have an increased risk for coronary heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

Secondhand smoke is the smoke breathed out when someone smokes or the smoke that comes from the burning end of a cigarette, cigar, pipe, or other tobacco product. It can damage the heart and blood vessels of people who dont smoke in the same ways that smoking causes damage to people who do.

The image shows how smoking can affect arteries. Figure A shows the location of coronary heart disease and peripheral artery disease. Figure B shows a leg artery with plaque buildup partially blocking blood flow. Figure C shows a coronary artery with atherosclerosis.

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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:

What Are The Risks Of Secondhand Smoke

The CDC says about 34,000 nonsmokers die from heart disease each year from exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke. Secondhand smoke is smoke exhaled by smokers. It also includes smoke from the burning end of a lit cigarette, cigar, or pipe.

Exposure to smoke poses health hazards to pregnant women, infants, and young children. Children and infants exposed to tobacco smoke are more likely to have ear infections and asthma. They are also at higher risk for sudden infant death syndrome .

These symptoms may be from exposure to secondhand smoke:

  • Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat

  • Excessive phlegm

  • Chest discomfort from lung irritation

  • Chest pain

  • Bronchitis

The symptoms of secondhand smoke may look like other medical conditions and problems. Always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

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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 wallsincreasing inflammation, and damaging and “stiffening” the vessel walls.
  • Smoking increases adrenaline levels, which in turn raises 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 damaging 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.

Cardiovascular Effects As A Result Of Marijuana Use

How to Prevent Heart attack

A number of studies have researched the connection between marijuana use and cardiovascular health in relation to an increased risk of heart attacks, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and other conditions.

The first study, done in 2017, compared lifetime marijuana use and cardiovascular diseases and followed over 5,000 people for 25 years. The research concluded that marijuana use didnt relate to cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, stroke, ischemic stroke, or cardiovascular disease mortality in middle age.

The second study, done by the Department of Psychology at Arizona State University and the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University, examined the association between cannabis use and midlife health problems by comparing cannabis smokers and tobacco smokers. The study didnt find associations between cannabis use and cardiovascular problems like elevated blood pressure, or higher cholesterol.

However, there are some studies that link the use of cannabis to heart attack patients under 50, a higher risk of strokes, heart failure, and other conditions. Hence, the 2019 study explored whether the use of cannabis is worth the potential cardiovascular side effects. The conclusion of the research indicated that further research is needed in order to understand the potential health consequences of using cannabis.

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What Cardiovascular Conditions Can Result From Smoking

Smoking cigarettes can permanently damage your heart and blood vessels. This can lead to cardiovascular disease.

Cardiovascular disease refers to multiple conditions affecting the heart and/or blood vessels.3 Some of these conditions include:

  • Coronary heart disease, or the narrowing of blood vessels carrying blood to the heart.
  • Hypertension .
  • Aneurysms .
  • Peripheral artery disease.1,2

Smoking cigarettes can also cause CVD by changing your blood chemistry.1,2

These changes in blood chemistry can cause plaquea waxy substance comprised of cholesterol, scar tissue, calcium, fat, and other material3to build up in your 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 Smoking Tobacco Affects Heart Health

Cardiovascular disease is an umbrella term for diseases that affect the heart or blood vessels.

Since CVD refers to any disease involving the heart or blood vessels, most heart-related smoking issues fall into this category. But some conditions are causes of CVD, rather than types.

In terms of heart health, smoking can lead to:

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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.

The Benefits Of Quitting

Just One Cigarette a Day Ups Risk for Heart Attack, Stroke

After quitting, a former smoker’s risk of coronary heart disease starts to decrease. Within a year, the risk is reduced by about half. The benefits increase over time and, after 15 years, the risk of developing coronary heart disease is similar to that of someone who has never smoked.Footnote 12,Footnote 13,Footnote 14

A smoker who quits after receiving coronary artery bypass surgery reduces their risk of ending up in hospital again for heart disease.Footnote 15

Among smokers who have coronary heart disease, quitting reduces the risk of dying from this condition.Footnote 12,Footnote 16

Quit Now is more effective than other measures to avoid the development of heart disease and other smoking-related diseases.

Need help to quit? Call the pan-Canadian quitline toll-free at 1-866-366-3667.

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Access To Marijuana Is Growing But Marijuana Benefits And Its Risks Have Not Been Carefully Studied

In many states in this country, you can legally use marijuana. Smoking is the fastest way to feel the effects of marijuana, which is derived from the Cannabis sativa plant. Yet marijuana smoke contains many of the same toxins, irritants, and carcinogens found in cigarette smoke a known contributor to heart disease as well as cancer.

Marijuana cultivation and use dates back some 6,000 years. However, the cardiovascular and other health effects of cannabis aren’t well studied. That’s partly because under federal law, cannabis is a Schedule I substance, meaning it has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” That designation places numerous restrictions on researchers, making it difficult to carry out rigorous research on marijuana.

As a result, everything we’re told about what marijuana does or doesn’t do should be viewed with a certain amount of caution. This holds equally true for the risks as well as the benefits.

The Risks Of Tobacco Smoking

If you smoke, your risk of:

heart attack is more than twice as high as someone who does not smoke coronary heart disease is significantly increased if you are a woman using the oral contraceptive pill stroke is more than twice as high as someone who does not smoke peripheral arterial disease, which can lead to gangrene, is increased by more than five times.

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What Are The Warning Signs

Whether or not you smoke, its important to know the warning signs of heart disease or heart attack. Sadly, not everyone has warning signs before a major cardiac incident, so lack of symptoms does not mean that no damage has occurred.

Coronary heart disease usually develops slowly over time and the symptoms can be different for everyone. Angina is the term used to describe the most common symptoms of CHD, these include: chest pain or tightness, shortness of breath, pain travelling through the body, feeling faint and nausea. These symptoms often occur after someone exerts themselves, explains Davison.

However, for many, the first sign of heart disease may be a major incident. Unfortunately, sometimes the first time someone realises they have CHD is when they have a sudden heart attack.

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