Quit Smoking for Your Heart
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States. Tobacco smoke damages the function of the heart and the structure/function of the blood vessels.
Cigarette smoke damages nearly all of your organs, but it is especially harmful to your heart. The chemicals found in tobacco smoke contaminate the blood cells and interfere with the heart’s ability to deliver oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body, leading to a number of dangerous health conditions such as coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, heart attack, and aneurysms as well as a build up of plaque — a waxy substance comprised of cholesterol, scar tissue, fat, and other materials — that can lead to stroke or even death.
But your body is resilient: After as little as twenty minutes without a cigarette, your heart rate will start to drop; after 12 hours, the carbon monoxide level in the blood returns to normal; within four years of quitting, your risk of stroke dramatically declines to the same level of a never-before-smoker.
Use this Monday to quit or recommit to your quit; your heart will thank you!