The hazards of smoking for heart health are numerous. Smoking can result in atherosclerosis resulting in problems such as gradual or sudden obstruction of critical blood vessels in the heart, abnormal heart beat or abnormal heart rhythms known as arrhythmias, as well as blood pressure also known as hypertension. These problems have the potential to develop into more severe illnesses like coronary artery disease, heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, peripheral artery disease, peripheral vascular disease and low blood flow and abdominal aortic aneurysms or out pouching of blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood from the heart to other parts of the body to assist in critical functions.
A general term for illnesses that damage the heart or blood vessels is cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Since CVD includes any condition affecting the heart or blood vessels, most of the heart-related smoking-related problems fall under this heading. However, it is important to recognize that smoking related disease not only fall under the category of CVD, it is often a cause and major factor that aggravates the disease itself and leads to worse and earlier complications.
Smoking can cause the following effects on heart health such as arrythmias.
Arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat. It is also called an abnormal heart rhythm. Cardiovascular fibrosis, or the scarring of heart muscle, is brought on by smoking. This may result in tachycardia, also referred to as a fast or irregular heartbeat. Cigarette nicotine known to speed up the heart rate can be a cause for tachycardia
Smoking also causes coronary artery disease. When the coronary arteries in the heart are unable to supply enough blood to the heart, coronary heart disease (CHD) occurs. It is also known as coronary artery disease or ischemic heart disease. Through atherosclerosis and increased blood pressure, smoking can lead to CHD.
Plaques accumulate in the coronary arteries due to atherosclerosis over time, obstructing blood flow and leading to inadequate blood flow or ischemia. The coronary arteries are harmed by high blood pressure, which causes them to become even narrower. Furthermore, the chemicals in cigarette smoke can thicken blood, forming clots that may block coronary arteries.
Smoking can also lead to a heart attack if it restricts blood flow to the heart. Another name for this is myocardial infarction. The muscle of the heart that helps pump blood through the body called the cardiac muscle begins to deteriorate in the absence of sufficient oxygen-rich blood.
Smoking can also lead to heart failure. Once the heart cannot pump enough blood to the body, heart failure follows. Heart failure can be caused by numerous conditions. Smoking raises the risk of heart failure because it causes damage to the blood vessels, the muscle of the heart as well as the electrical signaling process or the rhythm through which the heart synchronizes its pumping activity.
It is important to realize that one out of every five smoking-related deaths is caused by heart disease
Smoking and using birth control pills increase the risk of heart disease or stroke in women over 35.
Smokers have a 2–4 times higher risk of developing heart disease than nonsmokers.
Smoking increases a person’s risk of stroke by twice the risk over non-smokers.
Please protect yourself from cardiovascular disease by quitting smoking. Your pulmonologist can guide you on means and medications that help you to quit smoking.