The effect of smoking on blood vessels
The biological and passport age of a person can vary greatly. And in many ways, the well-being and health of each of us depends on the state of cardiovascular activity. After all, only a healthy circulatory system can provide our organs with a sufficient amount of nutrients and oxygen, thereby giving good health, high performance and excellent mood.
But even 1 smoked cigarette is enough to cause spasm and disruption of the entire vascular system for 15-20 minutes, and in fact the average smokers smoke 10-20 cigarettes daily.
How exactly does smoking affect the cardiovascular system of the body?
The effect of smoking on blood vessels is so negative that many scientists call cigarettes a vascular poison. And it’s hard to call it an exaggeration. This is what happens to our circulatory system when smoking – nicotine causes vasoconstriction, the heart in response begins to work at an accelerated pace, arteries and capillaries gradually wear out, and the level of cholesterol and other harmful substances in the blood rises.
But why is this happening?
The effect of nicotine on the cardiovascular system
It is enough for a smoker to smoke 1 cigarette so that his heart rate increases by 15-20 beats per minute. And per day, the heart of a smoker makes, on average, 20 thousand beats more than the heart of a person who does not touch cigarettes.
Such a reaction of the cardiovascular system is associated with the effect of nicotine on acetylcholine receptors, when it enters the bloodstream, it causes the release of the “stress hormone” – adrenaline. An increase in the level of adrenaline triggers a whole cascade of reactions – small vessels, capillaries and arterioles narrow, the level of blood pressure rises, and the heart begins to work at an accelerated rhythm. Even 20-30 minutes after smoking a cigarette, the smoker’s circulatory system does not return to its original state, and the heart continues to beat hard.
Effect of tobacco smoke
Getting into the blood, tobacco smoke spreads throughout the body within a few seconds, carbon monoxide replaces oxygen, organs and tissues begin to experience a lack of oxygen. And resins and other toxic substances, interacting with platelets, change their properties, making platelets more “sticky”, they stick to the walls of capillaries, form blood clots, which increases the risk of developing myocardial infarction or stroke several times.
As a result, the entire vascular system in the body suffers from tobacco smoke and nicotine. But the brain is most at risk.
The effect of smoking on the blood vessels of the brain
Every second, the human brain receives and processes thousands of signals coming to it from various receptors. The brain receives information through a whole chain of chemical reactions; when smoking, nicotine is built into this chain, attaching to acetylcholine receptors and enhancing their activity.
It is due to this that smokers experience a short-term surge of energy, a feeling of euphoria and increased efficiency. But after 15-20 minutes, the activity of the receptors drops sharply, and there are no physiological substitutes for nicotine in the blood, because of this, the smoker feels irritation, anxiety and a strong desire to smoke again.
With constant smoking, the production of acetylcholine decreases and psychological and physiological dependence on nicotine occurs. But the harmful effects of smoking on the brain do not end there.
Vasoconstriction in the brain leads to a sharp decrease in the amount of oxygen and nutrients entering the neurons, which quickly die from oxygen starvation. And if blood clots clog the vessels of the brain, the smoker will develop an ischemic stroke.
Due to the constant intake of toxic substances into the blood with tobacco smoke, the vessels of the brain lose their elasticity, their walls become brittle and, with an increase in blood pressure, can easily burst, causing a hemorrhagic stroke.
Possible consequences for the brain
Smoking causes irreversible changes in the vessels of the brain, heart or general circulatory system, there is not a single smoker who does not suffer from headaches, palpitations or shortness of breath. Of course, heart attacks and strokes develop mainly in elderly smokers, but hypertension, atherosclerosis and obliterating endarteritis today occur in the age group of 30 years.
Intermittent claudication, decreased performance, frequent headaches, thrombophlebitis and increased blood cholesterol levels – all these effects of smoking begin to appear after 3-5 years of “cigarette experience”.
Every year, the number of people who die from myocardial infarction, coronary artery disease or stroke continues to increase, and in more than 30% of cases, smoking is the cause of death.
If you smoke at least 5-6 cigarettes every day and you are over 30 years old – think about it, you are at risk for several diseases at once: thrombophlebitis, arterial hypertension and atherosclerosis and obliterating endarteritis. And if you are over 40, IHD, angina pectoris and heart attack are added to the list.
Don’t want to die, or turn into a helpless invalid before you have time to retire? Then you should stop smoking and start restoring your health and strengthening blood vessels. Unfortunately, the effect of cigarettes and nicotine on the blood vessels is irreversible, but the sooner you stop smoking, the less will be the risk of developing serious diseases such as stroke or heart attack.