As we kick off 2020, now is the perfect time to make healthy resolutions for the upcoming new year. And what better resolution than to quit smoking? Naturally, smoking can result in an array of potentially life threatening health issues, disease, and cancer. But did you know that cigarette smoking can also negatively affect your veins?
How Does Smoking Affect Your Body?
Your veins are your lifesource. Veins consist of tubes forming part of the blood circulation system of the body, carrying oxygen-depleted blood toward the heart to be re-oxygenated and then distributed throughout the body. Smoking limits blood flow through your veins in two distinct ways: First, nicotine, the addictive chemical in cigarettes, causes your blood vessels to become more narrow. Second, smoking creates artery-clogging plaque that reduces blood flow through your arteries.
When you smoke, the poisons from the plaque-creating tar in cigarettes enter the body’s blood circulation system. These poisons then:
- Make your blood thicker, and increase chances of clot formation which can lead to artery-related disease.
- Increase your blood pressure and heart rate, making your heart work harder to pump oxygen-rich blood throughout your body.
- Narrow your arteries, reducing the amount of oxygen-rich blood circulating to your organs.
- These changes increase the chance of your blood vessels narrowing and blood clots forming in veins, known as DVT or Deep Vein Thrombosis. This can lead to heart attack, stroke and other potentially fatal results.
Related Diseases as a Result of Smoking
- Atherosclerosis: This condition is characterized by waxy plaque that builds up in the arteries. This narrows the blood vessels and limits the flow of blood to other parts of the body.
- Coronary Artery Disease (CAD): This condition consists of plaque buildup in the coronary arteries which can lead to chest pain, heart attack, heart failure, arrhythmias, and even death.
- Heart disease: Smoking is a major factor in the development of heart disease, along with cholesterol, increased blood pressure, and weight gain.
- Peripheral Artery Disease: A condition in which plaque builds up in arteries that carry blood to the head, organs, and limbs. This increases your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
Tips & Tricks to Quit Smoking in 2020
In order to successfully quit smoking in 2020, you must first understand that cigarette smoking is both a physical and psychological addiction. Nicotine creates a dopamine effect in the brain that when suddenly deprived of, becomes symptomatic of withdrawal. To avoid such symptoms, refrain from quitting “cold turkey.” Gradually wean yourself off of tobacco use using nicotine supplements to help your body slowly adapt to going without.
Smoking may also be a psychological addiction. Many people smoke cigarettes as part of a daily routine to destress, cope with anxiety, depression, boredom, or to socialize. Finding new and healthy ways to manage such issues or relate to others is critical. Seek counseling from a therapist when learning to overcome mental illness in a healthy way. Determine the reasons behind your smoking addiction to create a personalized plan to successfully quit.
Heart of Dixie is Here to Help
Whether or not you’re aware of the dangerous health risks associated with smoking, it doesn’t always make quitting easier. Resolutions are often quickly abandoned for fear of failure or not meeting the goal quickly or without slip-ups. The experienced and compassionate professionals at Heart of Dixie Vein and Vascular Center in St George are here to help and support you through your journey to quit smoking, avoid related vein and vascular illness and disease, and ultimately feel healthy, happy, and able to enjoy life to the fullest. Contact or visit us in St George, Utah today.