What Happens When You Smoke? | AFC Urgent Care | Portland

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that around 34.2 million people living in the United States smoke.

During American Heart Month, it's important to learn the effects smoking can have on not just your health, but specifically on your heart health.

Why Do People Smoke?

People start smoking for a number of reasons. While most people start during their teenage years for the cool factor, they continue to smoke because of stress and/or addiction.

However, smoking actually does the opposite when it comes to stress, as it usually causes more anxiety and tension. Smoking is the single biggest preventable cause of death, and it contributes to millions of deaths worldwide each year.

The Effects of Smoking

  • Lung damage

  • Heart disease

  • Fertility problems

  • Pregnancy complications

  • Type 2 diabetes

  • Weakened immune system

  • Vision problems

  • Poor oral hygiene

  • Unhealthy skin and hair

  • Certain cancers

How Does Smoking Affect Your Heart Health?

While many people think of smoking affecting their lung health, smoking can also take a toll on heart health.

That's because when you smoke, it causes your blood pressure to increase, your heart rate to get faster, your blood vessels to weaken and your heartbeat to get out of rhythm. Over time, these issues can increase your risk of developing heart disease and other serious health issues.

Ways to Quit Smoking

  • Create a plan for quitting, including when you will quit.

  • Stay busy and keep your mind occupied.

  • Use nicotine therapy to help with smoking cessation.

  • Join a stop-smoking group.

  • Drink more water.

  • Avoid alcohol.

  • Eliminate triggers as best as possible.

  • Find healthier ways to manage stress.

Wonder where your health stands? Visit AFC Urgent Care today for a checkup. No appointment is needed.