Smoking Affects the Blood Vessels
Many cigarette smokers are unaware that this unhealthy habit affects their blood pressure. Tobacco contains nicotine that increases the body’s heart rate and blood pressure, causing damage to the arteries and veins. The result is veins and arteries that are narrower, making it more difficult for blood to flow. This leads to more high blood pressure that hardens the walls of large and small blood vessels in the body, including the arteries located near the heart. Smokers experience more of these effects during and right after smoking, but many individuals smoke a pack of cigarettes each day, leading to frequent high blood pressure episodes.
High Blood Pressure is Dangerous
Researchers performing studies on smokers found that their blood pressure increased significantly for up to 30 minutes after smoking one cigarette. Many smokers have a daily routine of smoking at certain intervals, leading to almost constant spikes in blood pressure. In many cases, it can take years for physicians to notice permanent changes in the arteries and veins of patients who smoke because high blood pressure often has no outward symptoms. By the time a smoker knows that they have high blood pressure, there is already extensive and nonreversible damage.
Smoking Leads to Heart Conditions
As the blood vessels in the body narrow, the heart must pump harder, causing heart disease. The thickened walls of the arteries and other vessels in the body have a more difficult time transporting blood. Blood also begins to thicken and clot, making a heart attack or stroke more likely. Both strokes and heart attacks are life-threatening conditions that have a low survival rate. After a heart attack or stroke, the brain and other body systems may have permanent damage that makes someone disabled and dependent on others.
Inflammation and High Blood Pressure
In addition to making the heart work harder, smoking tobacco will decrease the oxygen levels in the blood. In order to keep the lungs and brain working optimally with correct amounts of oxygen, the heart compensates with rapid beats that cause wear and tear on the blood vessels. Because the veins and arteries are stressed from physical activity, inflammation begins that creates hard plaque on the interior of blood vessels. These sections of plaque can break away from the blood vessels, leading to a blockage that causes instant death or conditions such as strokes and heart attacks.
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