Heart disease: A risk factor that is responsible for 64 percent of deaths

Heart disease: Doctor explains how to reduce risk

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Smoking tobacco is a contributing risk factor for the development of heart disease. In fact, this unhealthy habit is responsible for a lot of artery damage. Research on cigarette smoking and mortality, in a decades-long study of more than 100,000 people, found that 64 percent of deaths were attributed to smoking. The study, cited by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said it can take 20 years after quitting to reduce the risk of death akin to a “never smoker”.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated: “Smoking is very dangerous to cardiovascular health.”

Smoking is considered a “major cause” of heart disease, causing one in four deaths from the condition.

“Even people who smoke fewer than five cigarettes a day may show signs of early cardiovascular disease,” the CDC noted.

“The risk of cardiovascular disease increases with the number of cigarettes smoked per day, and when smoking continues for many years.”

Exposure to secondhand smoke also causes heart disease in non-smokers.

The CDC explained: “Chemicals in cigarette smoke cause the cells that line blood vessels to become swollen and inflamed.

“This can narrow the blood vessels and can lead to many cardiovascular conditions.”

Examples include atherosclerosis, where the arteries narrow and become less flexible, and heart disease.

Heart disease is when arteries that carry blood to the heart muscle are narrowed by plaque or blood clots.

“Chemicals in cigarette smoke cause the blood to thicken and form clots inside veins and arteries,” the CDC warned.

A blood clot can lead to a heart attack and sudden death.

Smokers will benefit “immediately” from stubbing out their last cigarette.

Within one year, the risk of a heart attack “drops dramatically”.

By five years of being a non-smoker, the risk of a stroke nearly matches that of a person who never smoked.

“Even a few cigarettes now and then damage the heart,” the CDC made clear.

“So the only proven strategy to keep your heart safe from the effects of smoking is to quit.”

To help break the addictive habit, you can visit smokefree.gov.

Other resources include cdc.gov/tips and you can speak to your GP.

One of the strongest components of becoming a non-smoker is commitment.

Smoking aids are also available to help wean you off nicotine.

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