smoking and heart disease are very closely related.
Yes, it is true that coronary heart disease is certainly a disease process of multiple lifestyle factors.. along with your own unique aspects of genetic predisposition. We are all born with inherited "weaknesses". Given a particular set of external Stimulus factors these weaknesses can become apparent in the form of various diseases.
It is lifestyle factors that create the "environment" that your body is confronted with. Not all lifestyle factors are your personal choice in fact you may be exposing yourself to a particular set of harmful and toxic environmental factors completely unaware of the harmful effects on your health.
The fact that Smoking and tobacco use are disease causing environmental factors should come as no surprise to you. In most industrialized countries, everyone should now be aware of the harmful effects of tobacco smoke on human health. Smoking and heart disease certainly have a close relationship. It is now well documented and cannot be denied.
So, Smoking causes heart disease?
Well, it certainly is a contributing factor. The incidence of coronary heart disease is certainly high among smokers. The main health risks with respect to tobacco use are associated with diseases of the cardiovascular system. Smoking is a major risk factor for a myocardial infarction - heart attack.
Of course not all smokers will get heart disease but smoking and heart disease is represented strongly in statistics.
Tobacco smoking also has a very strong association with many other disease processes as well.. including..
cancers of the mouth and wind pipe.
diseases of the respiratory tract, for example Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD and of course emphysema.
It is known that toxins in the blood as a result of smoking cigarettes contribute to the development of atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis is a disease that can affect all arterial blood vessels not just coronary arteries.
Atherosclerosis is defined by a prolonged inflammatory response in the walls of arteries. This inflammatory response increases the development and buildup of fatty substances in the arteries. This process can lead to the narrowing and complete blockage of a particular artery.
increases your heart rate and blood pressure.
decreases your exercise tolerance.
Suppresses your appetite and may interfere with your ability to get adequate daily nutrition.
increases the tendency for your blood to clot by increasing fibrinogen in the blood.
increases the level of carbon monoxide in your blood - this deprives your heart and other tissues of vital oxygen....
Carbon monoxide joins onto hemoglobin in the bloodstream. Hemoglobin is the iron-containing, oxygen-transport molecule in red blood cells. The presence of carbon monoxide interferes with the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood, making it less able to carry oxygen to the heart muscle and anywhere else.
Potentially Up to half the blood can be carrying carbon monoxide instead of oxygen in smokers.
Increases your body's free radical burden.
Free radicals are produced as a normal by-product of energy production in your body, but environmental toxicity like cigarette smoking among other causes is believed by many scientific experts to be causing free radical activity far beyond the limits your body can handle.
Cigarette smoking has been associated with sudden cardiac death of all types in both men and women.
Approximately 4.6 million Americans have congestive heart failure. 43,000 die from it every year.
Smoking and heart disease certainly seem to enjoy each others company!
A brief history of Tobacco use
Native Americans used tobacco for either medicinal or spiritual purposes.
It is thought to have been introduced to Europeans by American Indians.
It is most likely that sailors returning from the Americas to Europe in the late 15th and early 16th centuries introduced the practice of smoking.
The prospect of farming tobacco and selling it to England brought the earliest British colonists to Virginia and Maryland.
The invention of machine rolling of cigarettes in the 1880s helped move the United States into the modern era of mass consumer production, advertising and promotion.
The tobacco industry has been described as the oldest industry in the United States.
Prior to World War I lung cancer was considered by Doctors to be a rare disease. Physicians, for the most part would never see this condition during their career. After the War, with the popularity of cigarette smoking followed a virtual epidemic of lung cancer. Interestingly, heart disease rates were also on the increase.
In 1950 German-born American physician Ernst L. Wynder and British statisticians Austin Bradford Hill and Sir Richard Doll provided firm evidence linking lung cancer with smoking. Following this, in 1962 and 1964 respectively the Royal College of Physicians and the U.S. surgeon general announced their concern regarding the health effects of smoking.
Smoking and heart disease along with other disease processes was starting to cause official concern.
In recent years, the popularity of tobacco smoking has generally speaking been in decline in a number of countries like the USA due to the widely publicized negative health effects. Responsible governments have been forced into taking action - due to the disproportionate representation that tobacco consumption has in disability and cause of death statistics. As a result, tighter regulations have curbed the traditionally incredibly powerful tobacco industry's ability to market and promote its product. However, not all countries are taking this responsible approach.
Smoking and heart disease hugely impact communities and populations but huge profits seem to take precedence over peoples lives. The tobacco industry is still very big business!
Nicotine and beyond
Nicotine is a hugely addictive substance found in tobacco. Nicotine stimulates the body to produce adrenaline. Adrenaline makes the heart beat faster and raises blood pressure, which causes the heart to work faster.
Nicotine is a powerful stimulant and is one of the main factors leading to continued tobacco smoking.
Ingesting a compound by smoking is one of the most rapid and efficient methods of introducing it into the bloodstream, second only to injection,
Besides nicotine, cigarette smoke contains a large number of active chemical compounds. These compounds are present in the black substance known as as 'tar'.
There are over 19 known carcinogens in tobacco and collectively there are in excess of 3000 chemicals found in tobacco smoke. Long term exposure to these chemicals in the smoke, such as carbon monoxide and cyanide can damage lung and arterial tissue. The chemical concoction found in tobacco smoke is believed to be the reason that smoking and heart disease are associated and the likely cause of cardiovascular damage.
As amazing as it sounds, tobacco and tobacco smoke contains small amounts of lead-210 and polonium-210. Both of these elements are radioactive carcinogens.
The radioactive elements in tobacco are accumulated from the minerals in the soil that the plant grows in. This is a normal process with any plant - as these elements naturally exist in varying amounts in some soils. This is not due to soil contamination.
The problem here is that the process of smoking introduces these elements into the delicate lung tissues. These elements are not meant to be introduced into the lungs and unfortunately the radioactive decay process is able to proceed unhindered, potentially affecting delicate tissue.
It is not known for sure whether the quantities of these elements ingested by smokers are sufficient to cause cancer or initiate other disease processes that would further implicate the relationship of smoking and heart disease...but it can't be good!
What about cigar and pipe smoking?
People who smoke cigars or pipes seem to have a lower risk of death from coronary heart disease than cigarette smokers but their risk is still higher than non smokers. This statistical risk difference is probably because cigar and pipe smokers tend not to inhale the smoke - but there's not much scientific information on cigar and pipe smoking and heart disease available. This may be due to the fact that young men represent the majority of cigar users and they don't figure as highly in cardiac disease statistics.
What about passive or secondhand smoke?
The link between secondhand smoke - or environmental tobacco smoke and disease is well known and scientifically documented.The secondhand smoke connection to heart disease - cardiac and vascular related disease and death is also clear.
Secondhand Smoke Can Affect the Heart.
Approximately 35,000 to 62,000 deaths are caused by heart disease in the USA in people who don't currently smoke.. but who are exposed to second hand smoke or environmental tobacco smoke - ETS.
Exposure to secondhand smoke facilitates the process of atherosclerosis. Continual exposure to ETS has been shown to nearly double the chance of heart attack.
Many people find that smoking is a very pleasurable and sociable activity. It is often associated with memories of good times, great music and friendship. In a stressful world, these things are powerful motivators to continue on as if everything is ok - even in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence for smoking and heart disease.
If you smoke, the odds are really stacked against you.
If you desire to live a long healthy life. I urge you to consider giving up smoking today. maybe you can do it alone - I know people that have done that and succeeded - or maybe you are the type of person who would have a better chance of success by investigating a smoking cessation programme.
However you choose to do it, the benefits are huge and you'll end up with a lot more money in your pocket too!