Smoking is a nasty habit that increases your risk for so many unhealthy diseases. Smoking everyday or only in a social situation creates long term damage to your lungs and blood vessels. A new study shows that in as little as one year after quitting, blood vessels showed signs of reversing.
It wasn’t a huge margin, just 1percent, but the author said that according to research, this translates to a 14 percent lower risk of developing heart disease.
The chemicals in tobacco smoke damage the function of your blood vessels, specifically the inner most layer called the endothelial layer. This layer expands and contracts which causes a lowering or rising of blood pressure. Smoking causes this layer to constrict which increases blood pressure and increases the risk for atherosclerosis, or plaque formation.
The blood vessels that supply the heart itself also become damaged with smoking that can lead to chest pain (often called Angina), heart attack, heart failure, arrhythmias and sudden death. Smoking is also implicated in peripheral artery disease where the vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the head, organs and limbs become compromised.
Smoking is known as the main preventable cause of disease and illness. It’s a modifiable lifestyle habit that can be changed, unlike genetics, yet many continue the habit.
Smoking is implicated in all sorts of respiratory illnesses such as emphysema, asthma, and lung cancer. It also increases the risk for cervical, kidney, stomach, pancreatic and throat cancer. The same risks apply to those exposed to second-hand smoke.
If you are a smoker looking to quit, I applaud you for changing this lifestyle habit and not become a statistic. Seek support from your healthcare provider, family, friends, or a counselor. Some people are able to quit overnight, while others require the help of an entire village. Either way, you are making yourself and those around you healthier.
Johnson H. Effects of Smoking and Smoking Cessation on Endothelial Function.
J Am Col Cardiol. Published online 15 March 2010.