UHC Advice: Are cigarettes breaking your heart?

By William Weese, M.D. (Click for author bios in About us)

If you smoke, each time you take a puff you’re doing damage. Right away, the poisons in tobacco smoke cause the delicate lining of your lungs to become inflamed.

But, it’s not just your lungs these toxins hurt — and lung disease and cancer aren’t the only risks.

Each cigarette is hard on your heart. Did you know that someone who smokes is twice as likely as a nonsmoker to have a heart attack?

For one thing, smoking raises your blood pressure, which damages blood vessels. This makes it easier for plaque to build up in your arteries — and restrict the flow of blood to your heart.

Smoking puts your heart and blood vessels at risk in other ways, as well — including that it:

  • Increases the risk of clots
  • Lowers your good cholesterol — the type that sweeps artery-clogging bad cholesterol away
  • Makes it harder to exercise — something that’s vital for good heart health

Since your blood flow is affected, your risk of stroke and other vascular diseases increases, as well. And, if you smoke on top of having other health problems, such as obesity or diabetes, your risk of heart attack and stroke are even greater.

Stopping — and starting to heal
It’s not easy to quit smoking — but it is possible. And, more important: It could add years to your life.

And, the benefits to your health begin almost immediately — your body starts to heal. In fact, within just weeks of quitting, your chances of a heart attack begin to fall. And, after one year, your heart disease risk is almost half that of someone who smokes.

Maybe you feel discouraged because you’ve tried to stop smoking before. Keep trying. And, if necessary, try again and again. It often takes multiple attempts to quit for good. Millions of people have done it — and you can, too.

You can also call in a key ally: your doctor. He or she can help you find a method that works for you. There are more stop-smoking tools available than ever before.

For tips on quitting smoking, visit myuhc.com®. Click “Health & Wellness.” Type “quit smoking” into the search box.

This entry was posted in Fitness, Physical wellness, Smoking cessation, UHC Advice, Webster students, Webster Worldwide Campuses. Bookmark the permalink.

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