Only a smoker knows the joy and the bliss of whiling away time with a cigarette in his hands. And then, there are aspiring smokers, who think it to be a “cool habit. The ultimate level is attained by the chain-smokers (no reference to the band), for whom, even basic activities are done with a cigarette in hand, and packets succeed each other rapidly. For many of them, it is not even a choice; it is an obsession, a habit which they cannot get rid of even if they want.
Most people link up smoking with breathing complications and a number of extreme pulmonary problems like lung cancer. But a major fact is that, smoking is also one of the main causes of heart disease. According to studies, WebMD recently reported that about 20% of deaths from heart disease in the United States are directly related to smoking. It is a phenomenon which is becoming a gradual killer in the entire world, and even in developing countries, where cigarettes of even lower grades are manufactured and inhaled. As a result, countries like India are seeing a rapid increase in deaths arising from heart problems. A person’s probability of heart attack is directly proportional to the number of cigarettes they consume. How long a person smoked matters, too. You are six times as likely to have a heart attack when seen in comparison to a non-smoker If you smoke off 20 cigarettes every day,. And the likeliness increases exponentially as the number of packs per day increases.
Medical science has reported in recent years that hypertension is highly associated to smoking. Smokers have an 80% more risk of having continued hypertension than non smokers. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is directly triggered by the presence of nicotine in the blood. Nicotine and some other external agents present in the blood are directly responsible for reducing the diameter of blood vessels, also called ‘forced vasoconstriction’. This results in blood flowing at a higher pressure through the arteries and other vessels; resulting in permanent damage when sustained for a long time. High blood pressure has direct effects on the heart, as it affects the strength, rhythm and elasticity of the cardiovascular tissues; thus leading to heart diseases, starting from sudden heart attacks.
Besides high blood pressure, nicotine in cigarette smoke also affects oxygen content of the blood. Carbon monoxide, which abounds in smoke, forms a very stable compound called Carbaminohaemoglobin (Hb.CO). Thus it reduces space for the oxygen to be delivered to heart and other parts of the body. Lack of oxygen supply hits the heart tissues hard, especially the pericardial muscles of the heart. Cell death in these muscles causes the heart to abruptly stop after some time, implying a heart attack.
So, it is best to stay away from smoking, especially if you have already pre existing heart problems. And if you don’t have problems yet, stay away from active as well as passive smoking, in order to lead a longer and healthier life.