How Does Smoking Affect Your Heart?

Health risks of smoking are widely known, and its connection to breathing problems and lung cancer is prominent. But smoking's impact reaches far beyond your lungs. Cigarette smoking harms nearly every other organ in your body, including your heart.

In general, smoking causes blood to thicken, increasing the risk of blood clots and damage to blood vessel walls. This can lead to a condition called atherosclerosis, a disease in which plaque builds up in the arteries, eventually narrowing them and limiting the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your heart. Smoking also can cause heart disease or eventually lead to chest pain, heart failure or a heart attack.

According to a multi-study analysis by The BMJ (formerly British Medical Journal), smoking as little as one cigarette per day carries a 50% higher risk of developing coronary artery disease and 30% higher risk of stroke compared to those who have never smoked. When combined with other unhealthy lifestyle factors such as unhealthy cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and obesity, the risk for heart disease grows even more.

The good news is that heart disease risk drops dramatically within the first year a person quits smoking. Quitting smoking can even lower your risk more than common medicines used to lower heart disease risk, such as aspirin or beta blockers.

Whether you're a constant smoker, trying to quit or previously have quit, learn more about your risk factors for developing heart disease by taking our heart health assessment. You'll find out your heart's real age and what you can do now to reduce your risk of developing heart disease in the future.

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Why Choose Us?

When you put your heart in our hands, you get the benefit of more than 30 years of experience in cardiac care, the commitment that brought the first open heart surgery to our communities, and skills that can stop a heart attack in progress.

The heart care teams at Bayfront Health are with you every step of the way, from preventive screenings and lifestyle support, through minimally invasive treatments and life-saving emergency care.

Our Services

  • Interventional Cardiology: We offer a variety of catheter-assisted techniques to treat heart disease, including cardiac catheterization, atherectomy (rotoblater), balloon angioplasty and stenting.

  • Open Heart Surgery: When open heart surgery becomes the best treatment solution, our team performs advanced procedures such as coronary artery bypass surgery, coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), congenital heart disease repair and valve repair and replacement.

  • Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR): Venice Regional Bayfront Health performed our first TAVR procedure December, 2018. Bayfront Health Port Charlotte performed the first TAVR procedure in Charlotte County on Friday, July 12, 2019.

  • Heart Rhythm Disorders: We provide arrhythmia treatment from lifestyle-modification assistance to complex surgical treatment, including ablation for atrial fibrillation (AF), implantable devices including cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) and pacemakers, and radiofrequency ablation. For patients with atrial fibrillation who are unable to continue long term anticoagulation therapy we offer left atrial appendage closure. We performed our first procedure in 2018.

Bayfront Health Port Charlotte

Located on the campus of Bayfront Health Port Charlotte, Southwest Florida Heart Center is Charlotte County's largest heart center and the only accredited Chest Pain Center with Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) from the American College of Cardiology (ACC).

Features:

  • Private patient rooms
  • 10‐bed cardiac intensive care unit
  • 9-bed cardiac-vascular surgery unit
  • 16-bed post-interventional cardiac unit
  • 8-bed pre/post-interventional cardiac holding unit
  • Two open heart surgery suites
  • Four cath labs including a designated electrophysiology lab
  • Charlotte County's only hybrid operating room, a space which integrates a surgical operating room and an X-ray imaging system to enable clinicians to work more efficiently by reducing preparation and procedure time.

Venice Regional Bayfront Health

Venice Regional Bayfront Health has received a certification of Distinction for Chest Pain by The Joint Commission, 2021, a highly valued certification that combines a review of Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI) and Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS).

Features:

  • Private rooms for cardiovascular patients
  • 8‐bed cardiac intensive care unit
  • 9-bed pre/post-interventional cardiac holding unit
  • 2 open heart surgery suites
  • 3 cath labs including a designated electrophysiology lab

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking special precautions to keep our offices and other care environments safe for every patient.

Heart Healthy Resources

Heart Healthy Roadmap

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Is High Blood Pressure Considered Heart Disease?

Finding out you have high blood pressure can be worrisome if you aren’t sure what your numbers mean or what to do about them. Discover how high blood pressure affects your heart.
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Healthy Connections

How Does Smoking Affect Your Heart?

Smoking’s impact reaches far beyond your lungs, harming nearly every other organ in the body. Get the specifics on how smoking can influence your heart’s health.
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Journey to a Healthy Heart

Why Your Heart Wants You to Pay Attention to Your Cholesterol

Your liver makes cholesterol in your body, but you also get cholesterol from eating certain foods. Find out how the wrong kind of cholesterol can impact your heart.
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