Smoking and Blood Pressure

We all are aware that smoking is the risk factor for hypertension. Although it not only affects blood pressure but may give invitations to other diseases like asthma, cancer, heart attacks and strokes and has strong relationship with overall mortality rates.  Around 19,000 men and women lose their lives due to smoking. In Australia, smoking kills more than 40,000 Australians in a year. Smoking is not cause for high blood pressure but it greatly increases its consequent risks like heart attack or strokes. If you are having high blood pressure, smoking increases the chances of heart attack thrice as compared to non-smokers. Heart attacks at the age of 45 or near are mainly due to smoking.

Smoking not affects smoker, but also affects people around them especially children’s and babies. Exposure to such second hand smoke or also called as passive smoking may increases the chances of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), bronchitis, pneumonia and asthma. Around 35,000 non-smokers die each year on exposure to such environmental tobacco smoke. There’s strong dose response relationship between smoking and blood pressure. As smoking increases, blood pressure elevates simultaneously.  ,

How smoking increases blood pressure?

The heart relies on supply of oxygen and nutrients from arteries and veins. In some cases fatty substances may get deposit on the wall of one or more coronary arteries, this process is known as atherosclerosis.  As a result arteries narrows down and blood flow reduces , that finally increases blood pressure, smoking in such cases speeds up the clogging and narrowing of coronary arteries.  Thus the chances of angina, stroke or heart attack increases. 

All such effects are mainly due to nicotine present in cigarettes. Nicotine also stimulates the production of adrenaline which is responsible for increase in heart rate and finally blood pressure. The carbon dioxide in tobacco smoke reduces the amount of oxygen in your blood which means that heart has to supply harder the body to meet oxygen needs. Remember all sorts of tobacco smoking and blood pressureincreases heart rate.

Say no to Smoking!!

We now know health hazard of smoking, so the only way to prevent this is to QUIT smoking. Quitting smoking is not an easy task.  Large number of withdrawal symptoms is connected on stopping smoking like restlessness, irritability, frustration and inability to concentrate and sleep. You may feel dizziness after some time, you feel hungrier which may lead to weight gain.

Nicotine in cigarettes is responsible for such addiction. If you don’t smoke for longer time, craving for cigarettes develop and immediately your body demands for cigarettes. The withdrawal symptoms may last for 1-2 days once you quit smoking. But after some days both craving and withdrawal symptoms reduces and you will be free of nicotine addiction. Thus, if some ones decide to quit smoking, he or she is taking a big step towards improved health, which includes gaining control on his or her blood pressure and reducing chances of strokes and heart attack.

How to Quit Smoking?

Smoking can be avoided if only you want to quit. You have to decide when to quit and how to quit. Don’t try to quit smoking during stress because you are likely to fail in such situation. Decide any random day and mark it as ‘Quit day’. Make arrangements for such day that may divert your mind from cigarette like collecting tooth picks, candies, chewing gums, worry beads and healthy snacks. Tell your friends and relatives about your planning. Don’t make life long plans.

Stick to your plans for one day and gradually continue for next day. Even if your mind craves for smoking, try to control yourself, think about all benefits and improved life you will get once you get rid of smoking. Some people have psychological addiction with smoking, they require to smoke with all activities like during tea, coffee, or while making love. In such cases, note down those points and figure out what other what you can do to break down that habit. Like rather sitting on dining table after meal, get up immediately and start cleaning dishes and utensils, replace cigarettes pack with candies and mints in your pockets.

Various nicotine replacement therapies like use of nicotine patches, lozenges, gums, sprays and inhalers helps in reducing need to smoke.

Various drugs are also available which produces same effect on brain like nicotine. Bupropion also called as Wellbutrin SR and Zyban, is an antidepressant drugs which helps smokers to quit smoking. Another drug, Chantix (varenicline) reduces craving for nicotine by blocking the effect of nicotine on brain.

Regular exercise also helps to quit smoking. Rigorous physical exercise leads to release to beta-endorphins from brain that acts as relaxant and produces soothing effect on brain.

On quitting smoking, weight gain may be observed. This can be avoided if you follow healthy diet that’s low in calories, fat and carbohydrates. Also keep doing physical exercise, which helps to reduce your weight. The above maintain will lower down your addiction of smoking and blood pressure drops automatically.

Benefits of Quitting Smoking

Just after some time of your last cigarette, your blood pressure starts lowering down. Your heart beat gets lower and arms and legs feels warning effect that indicates improvement in blood circulation,  carbon dioxide level drops and thus oxygen level in blood rises.
After 2-3 months, your circulation improves significantly. The blood flow to your hands and feet improves. In upcoming months, cough will decrease as sinus congestion decreases and also lungs regain the ability to clean themselves thus you can get rid of mucus easily.

By the end of year, your chance of developing heart diseases reduces to about 50%. And after 15 yrs., chances of stroke are as negligible as non-smokers.

Quitting smoking prolongs your life and you start feeling healthy and look better as wrinkles from face, stained teeth are not observed. Also sense of taste and smells improves.

Thus, quitting smoking helps in blood pressure and also improves both quality and duration of life.