Smoking and Your Health
Most people associate cigarette smoking and tobacco use with breathing problems and lung cancer. But smoking is also a major cause of cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) disease. Smoking: the No. 1 cause of preventable disease and death
Smoking and tobacco use are significant risk factors for a variety of chronic disorders. According to the American Heart Association, cigarette smoking is the most important preventable cause of premature death in the United States, accounting for 440,000 of the more than 2.4 million annual deaths. What's the link between smoking and cardiovascular disease?
Smoking is a major cause of atherosclerosis - a buildup of fatty substances in the arteries. Atherosclerosis occurs when the normal lining of the arteries deteriorates, the walls of the arteries thicken, and deposits of fat and plaque block the flow of blood through the arteries In coronary artery disease, the arteries that supply blood to the heart become severely narrowed, decreasing the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart, especially during times of increased activity. Extra strain on the heart may result in chest pain (angina pectoris) and other symptoms. Coronary artery disease can lead to a heart attack. In peripheral artery disease, atherosclerosis affects the arteries that carry blood to the arms and legs. As a result, the patient may experience painful cramping of the leg muscles when walking (a condition called intermittent claudication). Peripheral artery disease also increases the risk of stroke. What's the link between smoking and heart attack?
A person's risk of heart attack greatly increases with the number of cigarettes he or she smokes. There is no safe amount of smoking. Smokers continue to increase their risk of heart attack the longer they smoke. People who smoke a pack of cigarettes a day have more than twice the risk of heart attack than nonsmokers.
What's the link between smoking and oral contraceptives?
Women who smoke and also use oral contraceptives (birth control pills) increase several times their risk of coronary and peripheral artery diseases, heart attack, and stroke compared with ...