Tobacco has presented a significant challenge to the public since the discovery of its harmful effects. Tobacco causes a number of problems such as: respiratory diseases, cancers and various negative effects on the cardiovascular system. Smoking is the number one cause of preventable deaths in Australia. Often overlooked due to the more direct threat of respiratory diseases and lung cancer, smoking has considerably adverse effects on the body's' cardiovascular system and presents a very real and significant threat to the user.
What does smoking do to our cardiovascular system?
Regular smokers will experience considerable damage to their cardiovascular system. Smoking causes these effects on the cardiovascular system;
- Blood Vessels
Smoking damages blood vessels, which is what is constantly supplying your heart with oxygen-rich blood. Smoking does this by reducing the amount of oxygen supplied in red blood cells, and also damages the cell walls. Thus, blood vessels become ineffective and cannot supply the desired amount of oxygen need for the heart to work.
Smoking clogs the arteries throughout the body, making it hard for blood to efficiently supply oxygen to the heart and consequently the body.
- Heart Disease
By hampering blood vessels ability to expand and contract, smokers face a high increase in coronary heart disease. When blood vessels are unable to perform this action, or cannot do so in an effective manner, then the user faces an increase in the likelihood of a stroke, or heart attack.
Smoking also increases the risk of a heart attack by two times, a stroke three times, twenty times for an angina (pressure and discomfort in the chest) and five times for peripheral arterial disease. Subsequently, this makes a user highly susceptible to death, heart disease and a heart attack.
In relation to other factors
While smoking in and of itself causes serious damage to the user, smoking also compounds upon other factors that affect cardiovascular health. Some of these factors include; an inactive lifestyle, obesity, and high cholesterol. These factors significantly increase the risk of heart attacks and coronary diseases, and when put together have a multiplying effect on the health of cardiovascular systems. Users will have a decreased capacity to engage in exercise, which can lead to refrainment of physical activities. Obesity also increases the blood pressure of a user, which works in tandem with smoking.
Reducing the Risks
Smokers should consider quitting cigarettes outright and can do so by reaching the necessary channels and alternatives. This would include nicotine patches, nicotine gum and e- cigarettes or seeking help from professionals in quitting. If users simply do not wish to quit, they should consider the effects smoking already has on their body, and consider other factors mentioned. Balancing these factors can help negate the risk of the coronary disease, such as an active lifestyle, a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight and maintaining good blood pressure levels.
If your vascular system is already too damaged, you may need to reach out to a vascular surgeon, such as Timothy Wagner.