Quit smoking for your heart!

This Valentine’s Day give yourself the gift of a healthier heart by quitting smoking!

Most people know what smoking can do to the lungs, but what you might not realize is that smoking hurts the heart and blood vessels too.  Smokers are at higher risk for:

  • Stroke
  • Heart failure
  • Heart attack
  • High cholesterol
  • Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
  • Angina (chest pain)
  • Aortic aneurysm
  • Erectile dysfunction

There are over 4,000 chemicals identified in cigarette smoke.  These chemicals enter the lungs and travel through the blood vessels and heart wreaking havoc along the way by increasing blood pressure, C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation), heart rate and levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) while lowering levels of good cholesterol (HDL).  Chemicals in tobacco also cause abnormalities in platelet function (making blood “stickier”) and contribute to atherosclerosis (narrowing and hardening of the blood vessels).

If you think you’re safe by smoking less or smoking “lights,” think again.  Research shows that there is no safe level of smoking.   

The good news is that your body has the amazing ability to HEAL!  In fact, heart health healing begins IMMEDIATELY after that last cigarette.  Within hours of quitting blood pressure drops, heart rate drops, and levels of carbon monoxide drop.  The heart health benefits of quitting continue for years.  It’s never too late to quit smoking!

You can also keep your heart healthy by:

  • Eating well
  • Exercising
  • Practicing stress management
  • Getting regular physical exams (blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.)
  • Seeing your dentist regularly

Log onto Quitnet.com to learn more and connect with others quitting smoking.  Your heart will thank you for it!

Liane

Master Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist