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Smoking And Women Heart

Smoking refers to the inhalation and exhalation of fumes from burning tobacco in cigars, cigarettes and pipes. A smoker is anyone who has smoked 100 cigarettes in his or her lifetime and who still smokes one or more cigarettes a day.

Tobacco smoke contains nicotine - a poisonous alkaloid - and other harmful substances like carbon monoxide, acrolein, ammonia, prussic acid and a number of aldehydes and tars. Health reports giving definitive proof that cigarette smoking is a serious health hazard. Findings include that a smoker has a significantly greater chance of contracting lung cancer than a non-smoker, depending on factors such as number of cigarettes smoked daily, number of years the subject smoked and the time in the person’s life when he or she began smoking. Smoking is a primary cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.

Smoking hazards between Women and Men

Smoking appears to increase a woman’s risk of heart disease more so than a man’s. Studies on this subject state that, smoking has increased the risk of having a heart attack 57% more in women than in men. In general, women—especially younger women tend to have a lower risk of heart disease than men but smoking seems to cancel out this natural protection.

Risks of Smoking

Cigarette smoking is a habit that greatly increases your chances of developing cardiovascular diseases. Surprising as it may seem, smoking by women causes almost as many deaths from heart disease as from lung cancer. If you smoke, you are two to six times more likely to suffer a heart attack than a non-smoking woman, and the risk increases with the number of cigarettes you smoke each day. Smoking also boosts the risk of stroke.

A study that followed nearly 120,000 women nurses aged 30 to 55 for 12 years found that those who smoked were 4 times more likely to suffer a heart attack or die from heart disease than non-smokers. The risks were even higher for women who started smoking before the age of 15—they were 9 times more likely to suffer heart problems. Smoking appears to be particularly harmful for young women. A combined analysis of 14 studies of heart disease patients showed that more than 70% of the women 45 years or younger were smokers.
You don’t have to be a heavy smoker to be at risk; even light smoking is harmful. In the Nurses’ Health Study mentioned earlier, smoking just 1 to 4 cigarettes a day doubled the risk of having a heart attack or dying from heart disease.

Smoking also increases your risk of some cancers, particularly lung cancer. It is the major cause of respiratory problems, including emphysema. If you smoke, you are more likely to suffer a stroke or experience clots in the blood vessels of the legs (peripheral arterial disease), making it painful to walk. Women who smoke have a higher risk of osteoporosis (bone loss) and they may go through the menopause at a younger age than non-smokers. Smoking is also linked to difficulty getting pregnant and problems during pregnancy such as having a premature baby.

How does smoking affect my heart?

Smoking damages your heart in several ways:

  • Inhaling tobacco smoke causes several immediate responses within the heart and its blood vessels. Within one minute of starting to smoke, the heart rate begins to rise: it may increase by as much as 30 percent during the first 10 minutes of smoking
  • The chemicals in cigarettes damage the walls of the arteries around your heart. This causes the buildup of fatty plaque that can harden and narrow the arteries.  Smoking can also trigger these fatty plaques to burst and block the artery, causing a heart attack
  • Smoking makes the blood more likely to thicken and clot, increasing your risk of a heart attack
  • Smoking may trigger coronary spasms where the blood vessels of the heart are pinched or narrowed, causing chest pain or a heart attack
  • The nicotine in cigarettes stimulates the release of chemicals that can raise your blood pressure. Due to this, the blood vessels constrict, which forces the heart to work harder to deliver oxygen to the rest of the body. Meanwhile, carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke exerts a negative effect on the heart by reducing the blood's ability to carry oxygen
  • Smokers tend to have high levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides—two types of blood fat that increases the risk of heart disease. Smoking also lowers HDL (good) cholesterol

Kicking the Smoking Habit

Quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do for your health, cardiovascular and otherwise. It is not easy to quit smoking. Many women have to try a few times before they are able to quit for good. Most people relapse in the first 3 months. If this happens, don’t despair—just try again.

Quitting smoking may be more difficult for women than for men. Many women are concerned that they will gain weight if they quit smoking. Women also differ from men in how they respond emotionally and physically to smoking cigarettes. Smoking cigarettes improves a woman’s mood, making it more difficult for her to quit. That is why it is not a good idea to quit smoking before your period, because you may mistake premenstrual symptoms such as anxiety and irritability as symptoms of smoking withdrawal. Furthermore, women’s bodies process nicotine differently, suggesting that nicotine replacement treatment should be tailored differently for women.

Within 2 years of quitting, your risk of heart disease is cut by one third.  After 10 to 14 cigarette-free years, the risk of heart disease is the same as a woman who never smoked. If you have already had a heart attack or been diagnosed with heart disease, it is even more important to stop smoking. Within 5 years of stopping , the risk of dying is cut by 36% compared with heart patients who continue to smoke. Cutting back on the number of cigarettes you smoke does not seem to lower the risk of heart disease.  This is because smoking even a few cigarettes a day is harmful to the heart.

Short term effects when you quit smoking are:

  • Your blood pressure will become normal within only 20 minutes if you quit smoking right now
  • The oxygen levels of your blood will return to normal within 8 hours
  • Your sense of smell will return to normal within 2 days
  • Your chances of having heart attack will also reduce in the same amount of time
  • Nicotine level from blood will decrease remarkably in the same period
  • Within 2 to 8 weeks circulation in the body will increase

Long term effects when you quit smoking:

  • Within 9 months your lung capacity will improve by 10% due to which breathing related problems will dissipate
  • The risk of heart attack due to smoking will reduce to half within 1 year
  • The risk of heart stroke which might have caused due to your smoking habit will reduce to non within 5 years
  • The risk of lung cancer will become like a person who has never smoked within 10 years
  • The risk of heart attack which might have been induced by your smoking habit will become nil within 15 years

Above all quitting smoke will give big boost to your morale and feeling of achievement. YES, I thought, I tried and I achieved what millions have tried and failed.

What are the side effects when you quit smoking?

Once you decide and suddenly quit smoking the body is in kind of a state of loss. Your body is confused and doesn’t know how to work normally as it was unable to work normally since long. The common side effects when you quit smoking are:

  • Blood sugar might go down
  • headache
  • insomnia
  • irritation
  • drowsiness
  • cough
  • weight gain
  • ubiquitous sweet tooth

There is no need to worry for the above problems since they are temporary and should vanish within 3-5 days.

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