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Smoking and the cardiovascular system

Everyone knows how harmful smoking is, but, unfortunately, the number of smokers in our country continues to increase, doctors and scientists do not tire of warning about the dangers of nicotine and other components of tobacco smoke for health, but this brings almost no practical benefit. Most smokers are confident that nothing will happen to them, and health problems await them only in old age, which is still far away.

But, in fact, smoking and the cardiovascular system begin to interact after the first cigarette, and the risk of heart disease exists in every smoker, regardless of the length of smoking and the number of cigarettes smoked.

According to scientific studies conducted by WHO, smoking is the main risk factor for the development of myocardial infarctions and microinfarcts among people under 50 years of age. Most smokers are not even aware that they have suffered many microinfarctions, and areas of necrosis or ischemia are constantly multiplying in their heart muscle, which will sooner or later make themselves felt.

What happens in the cardiovascular system when smoking?

In the course of the studies, it was found that when smoking one cigarette, the smoker’s heart began to work in an accelerated rhythm, which lasted for 10-15 minutes.

Half a cigarette smoked is enough to increase blood pressure by 5%, increase heart rate by 14%, and load on muscle fibers by almost 20%!

It is not difficult to understand what such an overstrain can lead to – a smoker’s heart wears out faster, blood vessels lose their elasticity, muscle fibers do not have time to recover, and the risk of developing coronary diseases increases several times.

Effects of smoking on the cardiovascular system

The effect of smoking on the heart is not limited to the above, under the influence of cigarette smoke, the blood “thickens”, the load on the vessels increases even more, and small blood clots appear in their lumen that interfere with normal blood circulation.

The heart of a smoker daily makes 12-15 thousand more contractions than the heart of a person who does not smoke, and myocytes, the structural units of muscle tissue, are designed for a certain number of contractions, and when this reserve is selected, the “motor” starts to act up.

In addition to such a mechanical effect on the heart and blood vessels, which are also under increased stress, tobacco smoke interferes with the normal saturation of blood with oxygen, an increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the smoker’s blood causes oxygen starvation and tissue ischemia, primarily the brain and heart muscle working in emergency mode.

In recent years, the relationship between smoking and sudden death of young healthy men and women who die instantly from thrombosis or heart attack has been actively discussed. Although a direct connection between these phenomena has not yet been proven, the fact that smokers have an 8-10 times higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases is no longer in doubt.

Typical diseases of a smoker

Most smokers prefer not to think about the state of their cardiovascular system and not worry about the risk of heart attacks and coronary heart disease, which, they think, affects only the elderly. But even in the youngest smoker, after several years of regular smoking, such typical diseases as:

– hypertension – an increase in blood pressure is typical for all smokers, due to nicotine, which causes vasospasm, blood pressure rises first episodically, and then constantly. The role of smoking in the development of early arterial hypertension has already been proven, and in older smokers, regular smoking becomes the most common cause of hypertensive crises;

– ischemic disease – it is enough to smoke 5-10 cigarettes daily, and coronary heart disease is guaranteed to you. Gradually, there are more and more areas of ischemia in the heart muscle and the smoker’s heart begins to malfunction, what this will lead to – a heart attack or constant pain in the heart depends on the length of time and intensity of smoking;

– myocardial infarction – today smokers suffer from myocardial infarctions, starting from the age of 20. Microinfarctions are most often not diagnosed, but the risk of dying from myocardial infarction increases by about 3 times.

– arrhythmias – smoking can cause not only a heart attack and hypertension, but also atrial arrhythmia. Nicotine, acting on nerve receptors in the tissues of the heart, can disrupt the correct rhythm of the heart, causing the atria to contract in an arbitrary rhythm. Moreover, arrhythmia most often develops in young smokers, turning their life into a real nightmare – any physical or nervous shock can be the last.

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