“Cigarette smoking is injurious to health” is the warning inscribed on every packet of cigarette. But how many smokers read this warning, and even after reading how many people consider it as serious warning. Most people believe cigarette smoking causes chronic cough and cancer of the lungs, but very few people are aware that smoking is one of the main causes of heart attack especially in young.
Smoking has resulted in several premature deaths due to heart attacks. According to estimation, patients who die of heart ailments, at least 20% of them are due to cigarette smoking.
Men and women who smoke are equally at risk of suffering from heart disease. The more number of cigarette a person smokes, greater is the risk of heart disease. The risk increases many folds when a person smokes for a longer time. A person who smokes one packet of cigarette in a day is twice vulnerable to suffer from heart attack than a person who is not smoking. So how does smoking cause heart disease, let us know about it.
How Does Smoking Cause Coronary Heart Disease?
Tobacco present in cigarette or cigar contains innumerable toxins. These toxins are the major cause for developing atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a medical term for what we refer to as hardening of arteries. The hardening occurs gradually as fat start accumulating in the arterial walls. This leads to plaque buildup which narrows the internal arterial lumen. As a result of partial blockage, blood flow becomes restricted or less.
All the arteries of the body are affected to lesser or greater extent. The heart vessels are also affected in the same way and they become narrow. The blood which is saturated with oxygen is unable to flow at its normal, giving rise to chest pain especially with increased activity and extra burden on the heart.
The toxin nicotine present in tobacco is responsible for it. It increases heart beats, raises blood pressure, and constricts the arteries of the heart as well as in other parts of the body.
Carbon monoxide is another harmful chemical present in tobacco that robs of oxygen from the blood.
Smoking increases the level of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), triglyceride and at the same time it reduces HDL level (good cholesterol) in the blood. These factors are important for buildup and deposition of fats in the coronary vessels.
Symptoms Of Heart Disease Caused By Smoking
Following are some of the heart disease symptoms caused as a result of smoking.
- Pain in the chest on slightest exertion.
- Pain can be left sided, radiating pain.
- Pain radiates to left arm, hand, neck, back, and sometimes to the jaws.
- Stitching or pricking pain.
- Pain remains for few seconds and reduces.
- Patient becomes breathless on exertion.
- Extreme weakness.
- There may be high blood pressure.
- Severe excruciating pain in the chest which remains for hours. It may be a symptom of heart attack. Excessive sweating, breathing difficulty associated with it.
- Limbs become cold and clammy.
- Rapid pulse rate.