Generally, tobacco consumption is considered to be more associated with lungs’ ailments, but while it affects a person’s overall wellbeing it can potentially cause irreversible damage to the other body organs including the heart. It significantly causes damage to the lungs’ functioning and massively affects the cardiovascular health of a person. Frequent coughing, difficulty in breathing can be apparent symptoms of the level of damage tobacco consumption has caused to the lungs, and acknowledging such symptoms immediately can be monitored, but some internal damages can only result in adverse effects. The severe impact tobacco causing to the veins, arteries, kidneys etc. may not be that apparent but in long run may emerge with higher risks. The same way a sudden heart attack may show one day what tobacco consumption has done to your body for all those years. The heart health risks associated with smoking is a major concern in both rural and urban areas. Although tobacco consumption is responsible for many preventable diseases, WHO confirms that tobacco is responsible for 20% of deaths from coronary heart disease. So how exactly inhaling tobacco and other forms of its consumption affect one’s heart health, let’s get some insights:-
Going as per the structure of heart arteries, veins and blood flow are major factors of proper heart functioning, and tobacco massively affects all of these.
Nicotine and heart health:-
Frequent consumption of the addictive chemical present in cigarettes increases the heart rate and blocks the arteries which may result in poor blood flow, uneasiness, and in severe conditions heart attack. Following the same pattern, nicotine causes brain stroke as well. The same addiction is the prime cause of addiction in tobacco consumers which provides temporary reliefs but long term damages.
Tobacco and heart rate:-
Apart from smoking the effects of chewing tobacco are undeniable. Merely chewing tobacco adds to the risk of a heart attack. It increases BP and can cause heart beat faster. Gradually it may lead to severe heart issues. Also damaged arteries will always pose a bigger risk of heart attack and BP issues to the tobacco consumer even if its effects are not apparent today. Apart from putting heart health at risk, the same condition prepares the condition for neurological problems as well.
Apart from directly consuming tobacco or smoking cigarettes, there are other ways of its indirect consumption that should be talked about in order to ensure the good health of nonsmokers and especially children.
Second-hand smoke and heart disease:-
Second-hand smoking affects the flex of the arteries veins and blood pressure. Here comes the social responsibility of the people consuming life-threatening things and causing risk to other’s lives as well. Here children’s health is more at the risk of catching it as they don’t tend to smoke but adult smokers around are responsible to make them inhale life-threatening smoke.
This is something very less talked about. While second-hand smoking is about passively inhaling smoke around a smoker, third-hand smoking is about the area where a person has smoked, even after finishing smoking and leaving that area a number of harmful chemicals may remain behind in the surroundings, rugs, furniture etc. and other people can get exposed to them. Hence smoking zones are still harmful even after people have left that place. Studies state that third-hand smoking may cause many health hazards. It can cause heart health issues as well. Here also our children are more at the risk of getting exposed to such harmful chemicals.
Quit smoking today:-
A study suggests that quitting tobacco after a heart attack may significantly reduce the risk of the next heart attack. It ensures better life expectancy as well. Quitting tobacco doesn’t only save one from health hazards rather it potentially reduces the risk of others exposing to life-threatening chemicals. The immediate effects of quitting tobacco are very much significant and in long run, they show results on a broader level. Today heart health is one of the major health concerns in the country, tobacco consumption is only adding to its severity. To bring this rising number of cardiovascular patients down one must quit smoking today itself.
This article is authored by Dr. Anand Kumar Pandey, Director & Senior Consultant – Interventional Cardiology, Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Delhi.