Because smoking is more commonly associated with chronic lung conditions like lung cancer or COPD, most people don't think about heart disease when they take the first puff of their morning cigarette. But smoking is a major cause of heart disease for men and women. In the United States, deaths from heart disease directly related to smoking have been in the 20 per cent range.
Did you know that your risk of heart disease and heart attack increases with the number of cigarettes your smoke? In fact, if you smoke a pack of cigarettes a day, your risk of heart attack increases by more than twofold. But it doesn't stop there...you will continue to increase your risk of heart disease and heart attack the longer that you smoke.
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How Does Smoking Increase Your Risk of Heart Disease?
Toxins in cigarettes smoked contribute to a condition known as atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis, better known as "hardening of the arteries," occurs over time and is caused by plaque build-up, scarring and subsequent thickening of the arterial walls. As the damage continues, inflammation develops, as do blood clots that block the flow of blood to the heart. Because the heart needs an oxygen-rich blood supply to survive, a blood clot can ultimately cause a heart attack.
How Do I Prevent Heart Disease?
The best way to prevent heart disease is to never smoke. If you do smoke, stopping is essential to your health. Quitting smoking reduces your risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, lung cancer and many other conditions.
If you have a strong desire to quit, there are many excellent online quit programs available. Your doctor is another excellent resource. He can prescribe medications that will help curb cravings and ease the discomfort of nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
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