The two scariest health problems nowadays are Cancer and Cholesterol.
We all understand that cigarettes cause lung cancer. How about cholesterol? Does smoking effect our cholesterol levels?
Cigarette doesn’t contain cholesterol, but it’s bad for our cholesterol levels. Smoking lowers HDL cholesterol while raises LDL cholesterol.
The bad cholesterol, LDL (Low Density Lipoproteins) is responsible in transporting cholesterol from the liver through the blood stream to all over the body where the cholesterol is extracted from the LDL and used by the body’s cells for various purposes.
The good cholesterol, HDL (High Density Lipoproteins) is responsible in transporting the excess or unused cholesterol from the body’s tissues back to the liver, where the cholesterol is broken down then disposed.
When there’s too much unused cholesterol remains in the bloodstream, it’ll get accumulated and may buildup fatty deposits on the blood vessel walls. When the fatty deposits buildup is inside a coronary artery, it blocks the blood flow to the heart, causing a heart attack.
A chemical found in cigarettes called acrolein stops HDL transporting fatty deposits to the liver, making LDL even more toxic to blood vessels, increasing deposits of plaque in the arteries and inflammation, which will accelerate the fatty deposits buildup and narrowing the arteries.
Plaque restricts blood flow throughout the body and after years can burst and create a blood clot, which reduces or blocks blood flow to the heart, causing a heart attack. Blood clots can also travel throughout the body, causing a stroke if blood flow to the brain is blocked. This means smoking is a major risk factor for both heart attacks and strokes.
Quit smoking has detrimental effects on the blood pressure and platelets will correct very quickly. Heart attack risk drops by an estimated 30 percent within a year of quitting. 5 to 10 years after quit, the risk of heart attack is almost the same as if we had never smoked.