OK, we’ve heard it all before: Smoking is harmful for your health. Aside from increasing your risk of lung cancer, it is harmful to just about every other part of your body; and that includes your heart. So, it’s time to make a real change. Invest in your future by quitting smoking. If you have cardiovascular issues, or a history of cardiovascular complications in your family, it’s especially important to quit smoking while you can recover. Let’s dig into the cardiovascular issues that smoking causes, as well as the statistics surrounding smoking.

Cardiovascular Complications Caused By Smoking

As the American Heart Association notes, “smoking is the most important preventable cause of premature death in the United States. It accounts for more than 440,000 of the more than 2.4 million annual deaths.” That’s a staggering statistic. Now why does smoking cause premature death? Simply put, it causes disease—disease which is avoidable. Among other diseases, cardiovascular diseases are prevalent among cigarette smokers. Smoking, as the AHA notes, causes heart and cardiovascular diseases, including stroke, peripheral arterial disease, and heart complications, among a litany of problems. Smoking also decreases HDL (good) cholesterol levels, which could result in increased blood pressure, and the risk of coronary heart disease.

The Staggering Statistics

MedicineNet.com points out that “20% of all deaths from heart disease in the U.S. are directly related to cigarette smoking.” That’s because smoking cigarettes increases an individual’s chance of contracting heart disease in their lifetime. Now, those are only statistics surrounding heart disease and smoking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) smoking also causes a majority of lung cancer and COPD deaths (causing 90 percent of deaths and 80 percent of deaths accordingly). The increased risks are staggering—again, the CDC reports the following statistics:

“Estimates show smoking increases the risk:

  • For coronary heart disease by 2 to 4 times
  • For stroke by 2 to 4 times
  • Of men developing lung cancer by 25 times
  • Of women developing lung cancer by 25.7 times”

In short, when you choose to smoke, you’re likely harming your body to the point that you may be causing a chronic disorder which may shorten your lifespan.

Now Is the Time to Quit.

The detriments of smoking can be reversed. Simply quit smoking. Smokefree.gov tells us that quitting smoking helps to decrease the risk of heart disease while thinning the blood (which could otherwise clot and cause cardiovascular problems), and it can lower your cholesterol. Smokefree.gov notes that “Smoking is the leading cause of heart attacks and heart disease. But many of these heart risks can be reversed simply by quitting smoking. Quitting can lower your blood pressure and heart rate almost immediately. Your risk of a heart attack declines within 24 hours.” The benefits of quitting continue to compound as you keep from smoking. The American Lung Association (ALA) points out that “As soon as you quit, your body begins to repair the damage caused by smoking. See the health benefits you’ll experience as soon as 20 minutes to 15 years after quitting.” The same association notes that there are a number of benefits that stack up as you refrain from smoking. For instance, after a year of abstinance from smoking, the ALA notes that “Your added risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.” In addition, the ALA cites that after 15 years, “Your risk of coronary heart disease is the same as that of a nonsmoker.” That’s a promising stat for those who are on the fence about quitting.

Now is the time to quit, or to take steps to begin quitting.

For further cardiology advice, seek help from a heart specialist here at Stockton Cardiology.