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Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire!

Know Your Risk and Prevent Heart Disease

The U.S Food and Drug Administration stated it directly to get your attention, “Smoking cigarettes can harm nearly any part of your body, including your heart and blood vessels.” Many people only think of lungs and lung cancer when talking about smoking habits, as if our lungs were inseparable from the rest of our bodies. But what we breathe in affects a complex set of systems in our bodies.

Breathing takes in oxygen through the lungs, but delivers it to your heart. Oxygen is necessary for life, and it is only delivered to the rest of your body through the blood vessel system. To injure the respiratory system is to also harm the vascular system. The FDA records that when you breathe in cigarette smoke, you are inhaling more than 7,000 chemicals that can interfere with important processes in your body. And it is not just cigarette smoke that causes heart health issues. Research already shows that smokeless tobacco is also likely to increase risk of heart disease or stroke.

As we’ve discussed in previous posts, heart disease is the leading cause of all deaths in the United States. But according to the American Heart Association, of those, nearly 20 percent are due to smoking. So, let’s get really serious here. If you commit to quit, how soon would you see a change in your health? The American Lung Association has put together a fascinating list of heart healthy benefits that you will see both immediately and in the future after quitting for below times:

20 Minutes – Your heart rate drops to a normal level.

12 to 24 Hours – The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal and the risk of heart attack is significantly reduced.

2 Weeks to 3 Months – Risk of having a heart attack begins to drop and your lung function begins to improve.

1 to 9 Months – Your coughing and shortness of breath decrease.

1 Year – Your added risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.

5 to 15 Years – Your risk of a stroke is reduced to that of a nonsmoker’s.

10 Years – You see significantly less risk for all forms of cancer associated with smoking.

15 Years – Your risk of coronary heart disease is the same as that of a nonsmoker.

Still having trouble sleeping? Talk to a medical professional to help you overcome other health issues that might be keeping you from good sleep. Research says the old adage “you snooze, you lose” is all wrong. Good sleep habits are likely to prevent serious health issues in the future. Want to know more about heart disease prevention? Check out the other posts in our series below.

Resources:

Smokeless tobacco: Health effects. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

How smoking affects heart health. U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Benefits of quitting. American Lung Association.

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