If you are a smoker, your likelihood of developing heart disease, heart attack, or stroke increases. If you don’t smoke, but chew tobacco, don’t think that you’re off the hook — Chewing tobacco more than doubles your risk of suffering a heart attack. Tobacco use causes 10% of all cardiovascular disease, and one of every three cardiovascular-related deaths are caused by smoking.
The average person has 60,000 miles of blood vessels in their body. When you inhale tobacco smoke, the smoke goes into the lungs and passes through the lungs’ air sacs into the bloodstream. This process exposes the heart and all 60,000 miles blood vessels to thousands of trace chemicals in tobacco smoke, which damage the cells that line the blood vessels, raising blood pressure and ultimately increasing your risk of thickened and narrowed blood vessels. Over time, smoking raises your triglycerides, lowers your HDL (“good”) cholesterol, increases plaque buildup, and makes blood clot too much.
It’s never too late to quit smoking. In fact, within five years of quitting, your risk of heart attack falls to half that of a non-smoker. For more information on quitting, talk to your doctor, visit our website for resources, or give us a call at 1-800-220-1990.