Tobacco smoking is no longer just a bad habit – the World Health Organization calls it the global tobacco epidemic. Cancer, diabetes, chronic lung disease and cardiovascular disease are all dire consequences of the usual puff. According to WHO estimates, it is cardiovascular diseases that are in the first place in the list of fatal diseases of smokers.
The effect of smoking on the heart and blood vessels
World statistics assure that each cigarette reduces life expectancy by 10-15 minutes. And chemists explain – tobacco smoke, getting into the body, penetrates into the tissues in half a minute. During this time, all harmful tobacco substances are absorbed into the blood – nicotine and poisonous tar, carbon monoxide (carbon monoxide), particles of acetone, cadmium, ammonium, etc.
The body is under extreme stress, and the brain instantly sends a command to the adrenal glands, where the production of stress hormones – adrenaline and cortisol – takes place. The effect of these substances is similar – they make the heart work at double speed, thereby causing spasm of blood vessels and increasing blood pressure.
At the same time, carbon monoxide comes into play – its molecules combine much faster with hemoglobin than oxygen, and block the access of oxygen to the heart and blood vessels of a person. The consequence of this is serious diseases of the cardiovascular system.
The consequences of smoking
Smoking causes two of the most dangerous cardiovascular diseases – coronary heart disease (CHD) and atherosclerosis. All other diseases are complications of these diagnoses.
The consequences of ischemic heart disease include:
· Cardiac arrest (sudden cardiac death);
· Myocardial infarction;
· Myocardial infarction;
· Heart failure;
· Angina pectoris.
Atherosclerosis in the long term can lead to stroke, general circulatory disorders.
Coronary artery disease
With ischemia, the coronary heart vessels cannot provide a full blood supply to the myocardium, and the heart muscle begins to gradually deteriorate. This is due to the fact that the body is not able to provide a full volume of oxygen for normal cardiac work.
There are three main factors in the development of coronary artery disease – smoking (carbon monoxide deprives the body of oxygen), hypertension (oxygen cannot pass through narrow arteries) and atherosclerosis (clogged plaque vessels are also unable to pass oxygen). And since nicotine is one of the reasons for the development of hypertension and atherosclerosis, IHD remains a typical disease of smokers today.
Myocardial infarction is a severe form of ischemic heart disease, in which the damaged area of the myocardium gradually dies off (necrosis occurs). Today, myocardial infarction in our country is the cause of death for about 65% of the population.
At the end of the 20th century, the World Health Organization launched a large research project MONICA. The medical histories of ordinary people from 33 to 64 years old were studied, the experiment covered 21 countries. It turned out that the risk of non-fatal heart attack among young people under 40 is 5 times higher than among smokers. Moreover, for women, these indicators are slightly higher.
Just one smoked cigarette provides vasospasm for 20-30 minutes. And if you “take” a pack a day, the vessels simply do not get a break and cannot return to their normal state.
When the vascular lumen decreases, the load on the heart increases dramatically – it has to overcome the resistance of compressed arteries and at the same time work, pumping the required volume of blood. As a result, the heart rate increases by 10-20 beats per minute, and the heart rate increases 4 times.
The dangerous effect of tobacco smoke is also added – nicotine poisons destroy cell walls, impair the absorption of micro- and macroelements, due to which the vessels become fragile and lose flexibility. The formation of fatty cholesterol plaques increases, and due to the high pressure in the vessels, these plaques are practically imprinted into the walls and further reduce the lumen in the arteries.
Although high blood pressure is one of the first effects of a smoked cigarette, some healthcare providers do not believe that hypertension is the main complication of tobacco addiction. But they admit that if a person has a genetic predisposition, the risk of developing hypertension when smoking increases significantly. And along with it – atherosclerosis, thrombophlebitis and other vascular pathologies.
Slow blood flow
Slow blood flow from smoking is also one of the typical syndromes. Usually, blood flow disturbances are accompanied by vascular spasms and fatty deposits in the arteries – narrow vessels are simply not able to distill the same volume of blood as in a healthy state.
Sometimes the so-called coronary syndrome is diagnosed in smokers. In this case, the blood moves slowly, but no pathological changes in the vessels are observed.
Slowing down blood flow is dangerous not in itself, but in its consequences. If the blood slowly flows through the vessels, it does not have time to bring the required amount of oxygen and nutrients to the heart. Insufficient blood flow in the myocardium leads to coronary heart disease, and oxygen deprivation of the myocardium is fraught with heart attack.
The only way to avoid nicotine-related cardiovascular disease is to quit smoking. This conclusion lies on the surface, and doctors are unanimous on this issue. Numerous studies support this hypothesis.
Research has shown that life expectancy before the onset of cardiovascular pathologies is much longer for proponents of a nicotine-free life. For men it is 6.22 years, for women it is 4.93 years than for smokers.
It is never too late to give up nicotine – in those who quit smoking after 15 years, the risks of developing cardiovascular diseases are reduced to the level of those who have never taken a cigarette in their mouths.
If it is impossible to completely forget about cigarettes, you should at least reduce their daily amount.
It is imperative to support the heart and blood vessels in the simplest ways:
· Healthy food (give up fatty, sweet, smoked, so as not to provoke an increase in cholesterol);
· Constant physical activity (a little exercise in the morning, stairs instead of an elevator);
· Cardio training to increase the flow of oxygen to the heart (walks in nature and in the park, cycling, swimming);
· Correct daily routine and adequate sleep;
· Intake of vitamins and antioxidants (especially vitamins B, C, folic acid and E).
But there is an important nuance – antioxidants help maintain the health of blood vessels and heart muscle in only one case – if you completely abandon cigarettes or reduce them to a minimum. As a result of the Finnish experiment, which investigated the effect of beta-carotene and vitamin E on the body of heavy smokers, it was found that there is simply no significant prevention of heart attacks from vitamins. Therefore, the main condition for the health of the heart and blood vessels is your personal fight against the global tobacco epidemic.