Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death and disability around the world. Surprisingly, the number of people who smoke is still very high perhaps due to the little factual information they have about the dangers of tobacco use. Cigarette-smoking is one of the major causes of heart disease and the number of deaths associated with smoking has been consistently on the rise. In the United States alone, cigarettes are responsible for majority of the deaths from heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, about 440,000 of all annual deaths of heart disease are because of smoking. Just a few sticks of cigarettes a day may double the risk of the development of heart disease. Because of the harm that smoking may do for the heart, the need to quit smoking has become an important health issue that could possibly save millions of lives.
Many of the deaths and ailments caused by smoking do not occur quickly. It may take awhile before the chemicals in cigarettes takes its toll on certain individuals. Heart diseases caused by smoking can be a slow and painful process. Smokers may develop heart disease because smoking causes the body’s bloodstream to be contaminated with nicotine, the active component of cigarettes which stimulates the brain and provides a rush of adrenaline. A rush of adrenaline may provide a “high feeling” or a sudden rush or shot of energy. However, while these moments of being high are being enjoyed by a smoker, he or she may already be exposing the heart to serious risk. Adrenaline caused by nicotine may speed up the heart rate, tighten the arteries, and strain the heart. When the nicotine levels of regular smokers falter, they usually experience withdrawal symptoms that may include restlessness, irritability, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and craving for another smoke. These smokers need to smoke regularly in order to feel normal, a condition that may lead to addiction — making it more difficult for smokers to quit smoking.
Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, 60 these chemicals are carcinogenic and are also present in secondhand smoke. Formaldehyde, arsenic, cadmium, benzene, and ethylene oxide are only some of the substances found in cigarettes — all of which can cause cancer. These dangerous components may stay in the air for hours and may harm one’s health in many ways. These chemicals may accelerate the development of artherosclerosis, a disease that affects the large and medium arteries. This condition damages the blood vessels making them difficult to relax. Smoking may also cause the artery walls to stiffen the artery walls and cause pieces of plaque to clog some arteries. Once this plaque clogs the arteries, the heart may become starved for oxygen. In the long run, these conditions may lead to the development of heart diseases like coronary heart disease and angina (severe chest pain).
The risk of acquiring certain conditions like cataract, macular degeneration, psoriasis, tooth loss, osteoporosis, and many more may be increased by smoking. However, it is never too late to quit smoking. Stopping the habit can drastically improve one’s cardiovascular fitness and overall health. Individuals who are having a hard time cutting the habit may try using quit smoking products in the market. These products, however, cannot do all the work. The best and effective to quit smoking involves determination, discipline, and commitment to stop the habit permanently. Using these products can help smokers cut the habit by making them more comfortable and complacent to adjust to life without cigarettes. Many quit smoking products are available over the counter, it is best to seek the approval of health professionals to clarify side effects and drug interactions that may be developed while under medication. With the right tools and attitude, quitting smoking and reducing the development of heart diseases can be easier than others think.