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?

Medical Associates of Navarro County's cardiac care team provides a range of heart care services. Whether you want to pursue a heart-healthy lifestyle or need a potentially life-saving procedure, we're here to help. We provide preventive services and treatment for heart conditions from hypertension to cardiovascular disease.

Our physicians are proud to be affiliated with Navarro Regional Hospital. From prevention to diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation, the care team at Navarro Regional Hospital provides a variety of services. Notable highlights include:

  • Accredited Chest Pain Center by the American College of Cardiology
  • Accredited Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission, American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association
  • Accredited by the Joint Commission in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), nuclear medicine, and ultrasound
  • Dedicated chest pain/stroke coordinator
  • Dedicated, experienced interventional cardiologist, board certified in cardiology, internal medicine and interventional cardiology
  • Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval® Hospital

Our Services Include:

  • Cardiac catheterization, including radial artery catheterization
  • Cardiac rehabilitation
  • Coronary artery interventions that include balloon angioplasty and stent placement for blocked arteries
  • Diagnostic and imaging technology to find heart disease early, when it's most treatable
  • Implantable cardiac monitoring
  • Implantable pacemakers
  • Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) management
  • Peripheral vascular interventions
  • TEE (Trans-esophageal echocardiogram)

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