Smoking: It’s Effects on Heart Disease and the Body American Epidemic March 2009 Ariel, Dan, Levi, and Zander
Types of Heart Disease: • There are several types of heart disease. • The major types are coronary artery disease (atherosclerosis), coronary, rheumatic, congenital, myocarditis, angina, and arrythmia heart disease. • One of the simplest ways to prevent heart disease is to avoid smoking. • Smoking isn’t the only cause of heart disease but smoking is often a factor in the development of heart disease, among many other serious diseases.
How does smoking cause heart disease? • The surgeon general labeled cigarette smoking as “the leading preventable cause of disease and deaths in the United States”. • Smoking increases the tendency for blood to clot; it increases blood pressure; it decreases exercise tolerance; it also increases the risk of heart disease after bypass surgery. • Smoking causes heart disease mainly by affecting the cholesterol levels in your body, and also by hindering blood circulation.
How does smoking affect cholesterol? • The main way smoking causes heart disease is through it’s affects on cholesterol. • When you smoke, it lowers HDL (good) cholesterol levels and increases LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, as well as increasing triglycerides. This negatively impacts cholesterol levels which have a direct correlation with coronary artery disease (atherosclerosis).
Smoking and Coronary Artery Disease (Atherosclerosis): • They type of heart disease caused by smoking is coronary artery disease (aka atherosclerosis). Smoking speeds up the process of coronary artery disease by damaging the cells that line the blood vessels and heart. Studies show that this will eventually lead to a heart attack. • Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory response in the walls of the arteries caused by the accumulation of white blood cells and the inadequate removal of fats and cholesterols. • It is caused by the forming of plaques within the arteries and is commonly referred to as the “hardening” of the arteries.
How does smoking affect circulation? • Smoking increases the risk of forming blood clots which can cause serious circulation problems. Smoking also clogs the arteries due to a build up of fat deposits. Due to the clots and clogs, the heart has a harder time and requires more oxygen. • When blood clots build up and block the arteries, a heart attack will occur. • Another condition related to circulation and found only in smokers is Buerger’s disease. This is when circulation to the fingers or toes stops completely, causing gangrene. Because of the gangrene, the affected digits must be promptly amputated.
Video: Important factors of smoking and it’s effects on the heart • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fR4-S-fNkQE
Risk factors for Cardiovascular Disease: • Cigarette and tobacco smoke, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, obesity, and diabetes are the major independent risk factors for heart disease. • Each of these can be modified or controlled, therefore making them preventable. • Though it can be hard to quit smoking, persistence and a strong desire to change can help someone to stop and help them to prevent heart disease.
Harmful Chemicals in Cigarettes: • There are over 4,000 chemicals inside a cigarette. • The two most harmful chemicals are nicotine and carbon monoxide. • Nicotine: causes addiction, speeds up the heart, raises blood pressure, and constricts the arteries. • Carbon monoxide: robs the heart of oxygen, and when combined with nicotine it increases blood clotting and clogging. • Carcinogens found in cigarettes cause heart disease because they get absorbed into the blood, contaminate the blood, and the contaminated blood is them pumped through the heart.
Harmful Chemicals in Cigarettes: (continued…) • Hazardous substances in cigarettes damage the walls of our blood vessels and the endothelial cells (which inhibit blood clotting inside the blood vessels). When these cells are damaged, cholesterol and fat accumulate under the endothelial layer which causes the vessels to swell. The swelling narrows the lumen of the blood vessel, therefore decreasing the blood supply to the area which that blood vessel was supplying. If that area is the heart, the swelling of the vessel can cause an obstruction or a clot which will lead directly to a heart attack.
Video: Nicotine & Smoking Facts: How does smoking affect the heart? • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dyr8yArSHsk
Did you know? • If you stop smoking, five years later the chance of you getting heart disease is almost equal to those who have never smoked. • Cigarette smoking is directly responsible for 20% of all deaths from heart disease. • Cigarette smoking is the most important risk factor for young men and women, and produces a greater risk for people under the age of 50 than over the age of 50. • If you smoke one pack of cigarettes a day, your risk of heart attack will increase two-fold and continue to increase if you continue to smoke.
Did you know? (continued…) • Smoking accounts for more than 444,000 of the 2.4 million deaths per year in the U.S. • Smoking creates a higher risk of developing chronic disorders. It creates fatty buildups in arteries, as well as cancer and lung problems. • The nicotine in tobacco increases blood pressure, which causes the heart to work harder. • Smoking increases the risk of blood clots blocking the arteries, which causes heart attacks to occur. • Smoking causes respiratory problems that will stunt development. • The effects of smoking are not always immediate, the effects of smoking are slow but sure.
If you smoke, what can you do to reduce the risk of heart disease? • Easy: Stop smoking.
Let’s sum it up: In the words of Zander… • “In the end, smoking won’t do much really… Basically 40% of guys who smoke will not reach their late 60’s… and women who smoke and are pregnant will either lose their child or their child will be seriously impaired… However, if you stop smoking now it will only take 10 years for your body to repair itself of the consequences of smoking… unless cancer has already set in…”