A heart attack occurs when blood flowing to your heart becomes blocked. This causes a section of your heart muscle to be damaged or die. Smoking is a major contributor to heart attacks and stroke. That’s why it’s important to pay attention the most recent smoking statistics.
Cardiovascular disease is still the leading cause of death among men and women in the United States. Heart attacks are just one of the results. If you’re lucky enough to survive, you will be forced to make lifestyle changes. One of the first smoking and heart attack statistics to remember is that quitting smoking will reduce your risk.
Let’s examine more more smoking statistics and why the urge to smoke will increase your risk of heart attack.
Why Smoking and Heart Attack Statistics Relate
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are several reasons smoking can be associated with a heart attack. Smoking statistics prove that it is a major cause of coronary heart disease (also known as coronary artery disease), which can lead to a heart attack. Cigarette smoking can do things like:
- Raise a type of fat in your blood called triglycerides
- Lower your “good” cholesterol (HDL)
- Damage cells that line your blood vessels
- Increase the buildup of plaque in your blood vessels
- Cause thickening and narrowing of blood vessels
- Create blood clots
If smoking does increase plaque buildup in your arteries and cause atherosclerosis it may lead to peripheral arterial disease, which can cause severe pain in your legs and affect your mobility.
And keep this in mind: According to smoking statistics from the American Heart Association, cigarette smoking is the most important preventable cause of premature death in the United States.
The Benefits of Quitting Smoking
The good news is, your heart will benefit almost immediately if you quit smoking. When you stop wreaking havoc on your body with tobacco smoke, your risk for developing lung cancer and having a heart attack drop right away. Even if you have been smoking for many years, you’ll still benefit. It’s never too late to stop.
Smoking statistics show the heart-healthy benefits of quitting include:
- Your heart experiencing less stress almost immediately
- Your heart rate lowering after about 20 minutes
- The amount of carbon monoxide in your blood returning to normal after 12 hours
- Heart attack risk lowering after a few months because lungs are healthier
- One year after you stopping smoking, 50% less susceptibility to heart disease
- After 5 to 15 years, stroke and heart disease risks returns to those of a lifelong non-smoker
Smoking statistics don't lie. The habit does bad things to many parts of your body—not just your heart. But it is important to know how to decrease your risk for heart disease whether you’re a smoker or not. Our guide: “The Heart Disease Facts That Could Change Your Life” is a good place to start. It has some simple tips that can help you avoid becoming a victim of the nation’s number one killer.