Why Does Smoking Raise Blood Pressure
According to the American Heart Association, smoking is the most important cause
of preventable diseases and death in the United States. Although commonly lung diseases are
associated with smoking, it is also a significant factor in the occurrence of heart disease, high
cholesterol level, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and can also lead to lack of physical
activity. To make matters worse, it can also combine with other factors to raise the risk of health
complications even higher, such as heart disease that is increased 20 fold.
There are different ways in which smoking can raise
blood pressure. Some of them are:
Narrow Blood Vessels: Smoking tobacco narrows the blood
vessels. As a result, blood flow is constricted and the heart is forced to pump harder to pass the
blood through the vessels. Blood pressure is increased when the heart works harder.
Oxygen Shortage: The carbon monoxide present in the cigarette
smoke decreases the oxygen in the blood. This means that the heart needs to pump harder to supply
adequate oxygen throughout the body. Thus, blood pressure escalates.
Plaque and Inflammation: Smoking tobacco can damage the blood
vessel linings and cause plaque to accumulate in them. Consequently, blood flow is constricted and
blood pressure rises. The damaged blood vessels also cause inflammation which in turn raises the
The most damage done by
smoking is due to the substance called nicotine.
It accelerates the heart rate; constrict the arteries and
raises blood pressure. The formation of blood clots is also increased due to the combination of
nicotine and carbon monoxide in smoke. This cluster of adverse effects ultimately impairs the
circulation system in people who smoke. Its result is that the heart pumps harder to supply
oxygen to the body but oxygen is not available due to the carbon monoxide. Hence, smoking is a
Fortunately, many of the effects of smoking can be reversed once smoking is
stopped. Damage to the heart and arteries is directly related to the number of cigarettes smoked
per day and the years a person has smoked. It is best to quit smoking as soon as possible. Oxygen
levels return to normal within days, the stress on the heart decreases and lung function gradually
improves. If you resist smoking for five continuous years, you can also reduce the risk of lung
cancer and bring it down to the level of risk of those people who have never smoked.