How are Smoking and Heart disease linked?

Smoking increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, which involves coronary heart disease and stroke. Smoking can thin the lining of your arteries, leading to a build-up of fatty material (atheroma) which narrows the artery. This can cause angina, a heart attack or a stroke.

Every cigarette you smoke makes you more likely to get heart disease. Nearly  1 out of 5 deaths from heart disease have smoking as the leading risk factor. Cigarette smoke is also wrong for the people around you. Secondhand smoke can cause heart disease and lung cancer.

How Does Smoking Cause Heart Disease?

The nicotine in smoke:

  • Decreases the amount of oxygen your heart gets
  • Increases your blood pressure
  • Raises your heart rate
  • Makes blood clots more likely which can lead to heart attacks or strokes
  • Harms the insides of your blood vessels, including those in your heart

Research has shown that smoking increases heart rate, tightens major arteries, and can cause an irregular heart rhythm, all of which make your heart work harder. Smoking also raises blood pressure, which increases the risk of stroke.

Facts associated with Smoking:

  • Cigarette smoking is harmful to young men and women.
  • It produces a greater relative risk in persons under age 50 than in those over 50.
  • Women who smoke and use oral contraceptives greatly increase their risk of coronary heart disease and stroke compared with nonsmoking women who use oral contraceptives.
  • Smoking decreases HDL (good) cholesterol. Cigarette smoking combined with a family history of heart disease also seems to greatly increase the risk.
  • The link between second-hand smoke (also called environmental tobacco smoke) and disease is well known, and the connection to cardiovascular-related disability and death is also clear. About 22,700 to 69,600 premature deaths from heart and blood vessel disease are caused by other people’s smoke each year.