Don’t let your health go up in smoke
A vital component of your heart health involves quitting smoking. Even if you’ve tried to quit in the past, it’s worth trying again. Smoking has multiple associated dangers including lung cancer but it also causes an increased risk of heart disease and stroke, causing about 30 percent of them. Your risk begins to drop as soon as you quit smoking so the sooner the better.
Every organ and tissue in your body is damaged when you smoke; your blood pressure increases, carbon monoxide steals oxygen from your heart and brain, and your HDL levels, or good cholesterol, is lowered.
If you still smoke, the American Heart Association recommends these tips to quit:
- Pick a date “Quit Day”
- Decide on your method for quitting
- Cold turkey – stop smoking all at once
- Cut down – decrease the number of cigarettes you some each day until you stop completely
- Smoke only part of each cigarette – continually reducing the amount until you stop completely
- Decide if you need assistance to quit, i.e. gum, patches or medications
- Have a backup plan ready for cravings
- Reward yourself for every day you go without smoking
The sooner you kick the habit, the sooner you reduce your risk for developing heart disease.