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Secondhand smoke and heart disease

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Researchers and doctors say that secondhand smoke is more dangerous than active smoking. The smoke that is puffed out by the smoker or the one that comes out from one end of the cigarette contains millions of dangerous chemicals which when inhaled can lead to cardiovascular disease.


How secondhand smoke causes heart disease?

Apart from nicotine, secondhand smoke contains more than thousands of deadly chemical compounds like ammonia, butane, nickel, carbon monooxide, formaldehyde, polonium, lead, etc. capable of causing tremendous harm to your heart health.

We have explained different mechanisms by which your heart can get damaged with regular exposure to secondhand smoke. 

Clogging of arteries

When the nicotine contained in secondhand smoke starts depositing inside your arteries, they are narrowed hardened and clogged. This reduces normal circulation of blood to the heart. 

Inflammation of arteries

The chemicals and carcinogens present in the smoke can irritate the lining of your arteries, leading to swelling and inflammation. When the arteries are damaged then blood circulation is severely hindered and you are at risk of heart attack. 

Blood clots in arteries

Another mechanism by which secondhand smoke contributes to heart attack is by increasing the platelet count of your body. Your blood is vulnerable to clotting due to increased number of platelets or due to sticking of plateletes. If the clot occurs in the artery supplying blood to your heart, then you might succumb to heart attack.


Statistics of secondhand smoke and heart disease

We have chalked out some vital statistics as proposed by Centre of Disease Control (CDC) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The reports exemplify the following facts:

Doctors have warned people about the fact, “those who are exposed to secondhand smoke are at 25-30% more risk of having heart attack than non smokers and who take proper precaution against inhaling secondhand smoke”.

As per survey secondhand smoke is one of the leading causes behind deaths from stroke. About 8,000 deaths occur from secondhand smoke and stroke annually. The mortality rate accounts to numerous premature deaths due to cardiovascular disease.


How to save yourself from secondhand smoke and heart disease?

Quite naturally when you protect yourself from getting exposed to secondhand smoke, your risk of having heart disease is eliminated. We give you some tips to avoid secondhand smoke: 

  • Stop hanging out with smokers. Your peers and colleagues must be smoking but you might not. Therefore, simply avoid their company when they smoke.
  • Give up smoking if you are into it. It would take some time but would have promising health benefits in the long run. Your risk of having heart disease and lung cancer will be much reduced.
  • If you have been inhaling secondhand smoke knowingly or unknowingly, then practise pranayama breathing techniques and yoga for the heart. This would ensure that your system is purified from the smoke and your blood circulation is restored, which in turn would avert the possibility of heart disease. 

Note: If you experience some symptoms of heart disease like tightness in chest, hypertension, chest pain, etc. then to your doctor at the earliest.

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: june 19, 2014

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