A month to change your heart: Day 27

If you are smoking cigarettes, even a few per day, you are dramatically increasing your risk of having a heart attack.  Cigarette smoking increases the inflammation in the arteries that give blood to your heart, destroys the elasticity of these same vessels, raises your blood pressure, lowers HDH (good) cholesterol, and damages the heart tissue directly.  This is true of both the smoke and the chemicals in tobacco.  Second hand smoke is just as dangerous, exposing non -smokers to the same risks.  Smoking also exposes all of the other arteries in your body, causing peripheral arterial disease (PAD)

Let’s look into some of the myths that I have had smokers tell me:

  1. “I only smoke a few cigarettes per day.”  Smoking, even a few per day, continues to expose you to the same risks
  2. “it is too late to quit- the damage has been done”  The damage to the heart and blood vessels begins to reverse almost as soon as you quit, and it is never too late to quit
  3. “Electronic cigarettes are a good way to quit” Recent information suggests that people who try to quit using e cigs are not successful, and actually end up smoking more, and using the e-cigarettes.  In addition, you are still exposed to the toxic effects of nicotine
  4. “I only smoke outside the house”  Although this may help your family be exposed to less second hand smoke, this does not  decrease the ill effects of cigarettes
  5. “It’s my only vice”  When it comes to the heart, other vices that hurt the heart include high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, being overweight, and being sedentary.  Smoking magnifies each of these risks dramatically.

So, how do you quit?  It is a tough addiction, and there are no easy answers.  But, you cannot quit unless it is important to you- it has to be something that you really want to do.

Pick a quit date, and get help.  Nicorette gum, the patch, Wellbutrin and Chantix (two prescription medications that you can get from your doctor) can help, but only if you are ready to quit

On the 27th day of the program, my doctor said to me:

  1. Cigarette smoking increases the inflammation in the arteries that give blood to your heart, destroys the elasticity of these same vessels, raises your blood pressure, lowers HDH (good) cholesterol, and damages the heart tissue directly.  Second hand smoke is just as dangerous, exposing non -smokers to the same risks.
  2. If you are a smoker, pick a quit date, and get help.  Counseling, hypnosis, Nicorette gum, the patch, Wellbutrin and Chantix (two prescription medications that you can get from your doctor) can help, but only if you are ready to quit

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