Smoking. You already know this is bad for your health. Yet, it can feel like one of the hardest habits to kick.
Well, that all depends on how you look at it I guess. Below, I have shared some of the lesser-known facts about smoking and your heart health. There is help out there for quitting for good which I will get to, so stick with me.
Lesser-known facts about smoking and your heart health
It wasn’t until I had my heart attack that I fully understood the link between smoking and my heart. I couldn’t figure out how it affected my heart as the smoke was inhaled into my lungs.
Inflammation, cholesterol, and heart disease
One of the more widely known effects of smoking can be lung cancer. But, this is not the only disease that can occur through smoking. Heart disease and an increased risk of heart attacks are also effects of smoking.
There is a lot of research out there advising of the damaging effects it can have on our hearts.
This is a natural part of the healing process our bodies go through. Notice when you have a cut, that the area around the cut swells up? This is because of the increased blood flow to that part of the body. The immune cells are working to fight off any infection inside the cut and to fuse the skin and tissue back together again. So, it is quite useful. This is called Acute Inflammation— a short-term process that occurs and disappears when we are healed.
However, inflammation in other parts of our bodies can be fatal. Chronic inflammation (long-term) can be a symptom of conditions like Atherosclerosis. Smoking can damage the cells in our arteries, which in time, can cause the lining of our arteries to inflame. This in turn can cause a build-up of the immune cells and fat molecules which are there to try and heal the area. This build-up can lead to the artery walls becoming hard and narrow. As you may already know, if you have ever been diagnosed with a heart condition, the hardening and narrowing of arteries can result in Angina.
Even worse than this, the fat molecule build-up can cause an artery to burst which could result in a heart attack or even a stroke.
Now, none of this information is here to scare you. These are the real facts about how smoking can affect you so please read on.
You may already know that high cholesterol levels can be an effect of a high-fat diet. You can read all about how to change your diet to lower cholesterol in my interview with Ashley Reaver who is a registered dietician.
Smoking is also another culprit of high cholesterol. Bad cholesterol (LDL or Low-density lipoprotein) can build up the fatty plaque in your arteries, hardening them, and narrowing them. Smoking can increase the levels of bad cholesterol in your body through inhalation. Smoking can decrease the good cholesterol in your body (HDL or High-density lipoprotein) and can even make the blood thicker which can cause blood clots. If this occurs around the heart, it can increase the odds of a heart attack.
Look at quitting for good as a positive thing
The research and the numbers are all out there. One US doctor has even suggested that by 2030, smoking could kill 1 in 6 people if the numbers keep stacking up as they are.
Well, it is time that this number came down. There is help out there for quitting smoking. It is a very important part of recovery if you have already suffered a heart attack or have been diagnosed with a heart condition. Quitting now is the only way you will reduce your risk of a second cardiac event.
Trying to quit smoking alone could have been something you have already tried. Going cold turkey. I commend you for your bravery but if it did not work for you, then it is time to try something else
You have to start by thinking of yourself as a non-smoker who is trying to quit. Looking at it from a different angle could be the step you need that you didn’t take the first time around.
Having the right mindset over quitting smoking is the way forward. It is all about changing how you think. You need to get ready to quit smoking. You are more likely to quit for good with the right mindset and this does require looking at it from a new perspective. Download this free guide on how to get yourself ready to quit smoking.
My Group Online Quitters Programme can be a huge help to you as well. I will work with you in 6 sessions to get you ready to quit smoking for good. This is done via Zoom and in the comfort of your own home.
“The key thing in quitting is the desire to stop smoking. Whilst this programme is for people that live with a heart health diagnosis I am happy to accept your partner or family members that you share a house with to enable you every chance of success.”
If you need extra support or are not sure about taking the next steps, I also run a free support group. It’s a safe and nurturing place for you to support each other. No judgment or pressure.
It is ultimately up to you to take that next step. The best time to quit was yesterday, the next best time is now. As always, if you have any questions I’m here to help.
FREE Hearties Quit Smoking Support Group
If you want to quit smoking and have had a heart attack, surgery or live with heart disease, this FREE group is here for you!