February is American Heart Month, an entire month dedicated to educating the public on heart health and cardiovascular disease, a disease that will cause 1 in 4 deaths in America this year. According to the CDC, 735,000 people will suffer from a heart attack this year. Smoking is a major cause of cardiovascular disease. While smoking has been on decline in the last few decades thanks to education campaigns, legal victories, and regulations on where people can smoke, many people still choose to do it. Do you smoke? Have you thought about quitting? Here a few reasons why you should consider quitting this month.
How Smoking Hurts You
The chemicals in cigarette smoke cause your blood vessels to become swollen and inflamed. Inflammation causes problems for many systems in the body and can be especially harmful to your cardiovascular system. Narrow blood vessels reduces the flow of oxygen to the major organs of your body.
Narrow blood vessels that are hardened and inflexible see an increased buildup of fat, cholesterol, and plaque, which further block the flow of blood to the organs of your body. The chemicals in cigarette smoke have been shown to thicken the blood and increase clotting inside of arteries. Blood that thickens and clots in the arteries can lead to a heart attack or complete heart failure. Thickened blood and clots also increase the risk of stroke, which is a loss of function due to lack of blood flow to the brain.
Smoking has significant implications for your oral health, too. Aside from the aesthetic concerns of stained teeth, smoking can also dull your sense of taste and smell. Significantly, smoking increases your chances of developing gum disease, which studies have shown can introduce complications for your heart health. Smoking can also cause oral cancer, something your dentist screens for during your twice-yearly visits.
How Smoking Hurts Others
Non-smokers who are exposed to cigarette smoke (known as secondhand smoke) are also at risk for cardiovascular disease. According to the CDC, 33,000 Americans a year die from cardiovascular disease cause by exposure to secondhand smoke.
What you can do:
Quitting smoking is the only way to avoid the cardiovascular complications caused by cigarette smoke. The effects of cigarette smoke on the body are reversible, and improvement can be seen quickly after a person quits cigarette use. There are many effective programs and products out there to help you quit smoking. If you are ready to quit, seek out helpful resources, consult your primary doctor, and make sure that you tap into your community of supportive loved ones. Quitting takes time, effort, and support to work, but it is achievable.
If 2019 is the year for a healthier you, taking a little time in February to think about your heart health is a good idea. Even the smallest healthy changes can make a big impact on your overall health over time. Do some reading, speak with your doctor if you haven’t in a while, and then be proactive about your health. The more you do, the better off you’ll be!
Did your primary dentist notice periodontal disease during your last oral exam? Do you have other dental concerns that require specialty attention? We’re a caring specialty firm located in the heart of Boston, conveniently located near major public transportation. Give us a call today so we can start working with you to restore your good oral health.
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