Yes, smoking can damage the heart. The heart is the organ that supplies blood and oxygen to all parts of the body. It is about the size of a clenched fist, weighs about 10.5 ounces and is shaped like a cone. The heart is the most important muscle in the body. Circulation of blood also picks up waste products like poisons from cigarette smoke and carries them to different parts of the body. So cigarette smoking can cause serious damage to the heart.
Atherosclerosis is a disease where there is a build-up of plaque inside your arteries. Plaque is composed of fatty deposits, cholesterol, calcium and other substances that over time will cause the arteries to become narrows and therefore lessen the flow of blood to the brain, heart and the rest of the body.
Atherosclerosis is one of the major causes of heart attacks, strokes, heart diseases and most other cardiovascular diseases. The toxins and poisons coming from the cigarette smoke when entering the blood can greatly contribute to having atherosclerosis by accelerating the build up the plaque inside the arteries. Smoking can also cause elevation of cholesterol.
People who have atherosclerosis can suffer a heart attack as a blockage in the main artery may cause restricted blood flow to the heart. This causes pain and the person will have a heart attack. The main reason is because the blood and the oxygen it carries can not pass through the main artery or the vessels supplying blood to the heart. This causes damage to the heart muscle and the heart or that area that is depleted of much needed blood flow may subsequently dies as a result.
Angina is chest pain or discomfort that occurs when a person has insufficient blood and oxygen supplying the heart or an area of the heart muscle. It can be caused by physical exertion but it can also be due to smoking. Angina usually does not cause death whereas a heart attack may result in death.
Smoking cigarettes puts people at a higher risk of suffering a stroke or cerebrovascular accident (CVA). A stroke occurs when there is a lack of blood and oxygen reaching a part of the brain causing brain cells to die. Lack of oxygen to the brain is often caused by atherosclerosis in the artery that leads to the brain, which restricts the blood flow and therefore the amount of oxygen that is transported with it. As the blood flow is restricted due to the faty deposit build up, which narrows the arteries, a blood clot may form and a stroke will result as the tissues around the brain are starved of oxygen.
The effects and benefits of giving up smoking on the cardiovascular system are often immediate and greatly reduce the risk of suffering any of these diseases. Once a smoker stops smoking atherosclerosis is slowed down, the blood is less likely to clot and oxygen and blood can pass through the arteries more freely and more easily, which relieves stress on the heart and lessens the damage on the heart. Cholesterol levels are also reduced, which will slow the build-up of cholesterol in the arteries.
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