If tomorrow’s health is the result of yesterday’s habits and actions, then today is the day I need to begin making critical reforms. Smoking puts one at risk for more than lung cancer. Read the excerpt below for further details.
How Are Smoking and Exposure to Secondhand Smoke Related to Heart Disease and Stroke?
Smoking is a leading cause of heart disease. Smoking can:
- Raise triglycerides (a type of fat in your blood)
- Lower “good” cholesterol (HDL)
- Damage cells that line the blood vessels
- Cause thickening and narrowing of blood vessels
- Cause clots to form, blocking blood flow to the heart
Secondhand smoke also damages blood vessels and can trigger a heart attack or stroke.
Smoking is a leading cause of stroke. Smoking can:
- Make blood thicker and more likely to clot
- Increase the buildup of plaque (fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances) in blood vessels leading to the brain
- Lead to pain in the hands and feet; it may be severe
- Damage blood vessels in the brain
How Can Heart Disease and Stroke Be Prevented?
Heart disease and stroke are major causes of death and disability in the United States. Many people are at high risk for these diseases and don’t know it. The good news is that many risk factors for heart disease and stroke can be prevented or controlled.
The federal government’s Million Hearts™ initiative works to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. Talk with your health care provider about your ABCS:
- Appropriate aspirin therapy for those who need it
- Blood pressure control
- Cholesterol management
- Smoking cessation (quitting smoking)
In addition to your ABCS, several lifestyle choices can help protect your heart and brain health. These include the following:
- Avoid breathing secondhand smoke
- Eat a healthy diet
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise regularly
- Limit alcohol use
Source: “Heart Disease and Stroke.” By CDC. http://www.cdc.gov/