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.

Start My Assessment!
Mobile Header

Why Choose Us?

Our physicians and providers are proud to be affiliated with Northwest Health, the largest health system in Northwest Arkansas. With five hospitals, Northwest Health has three accredited Chest Pain Centers - in Bentonville, Siloam Springs and Springdale.

Northwest Medical Center - Springdale was the first hospital in Northwest Arkansas to provide open-heart surgery and achieve Cycle IV Chest Pain Center Accreditation with Primary PCI through ACC Accreditation Services (American College of Cardiology). Northwest Medical Center – Bentonville also earned the same accreditation, and both hospitals maintain this accreditation today (now cycle V) to show Northwest Health's continued commitment to providing high quality care for your heart when you need it most.

Northwest Medical Center - Springdale was also among the first 50 hospitals nationwide chosen to participate in a new study to identify the best treatment for people who experience cardiogenic shock following a heart attack (also called acute myocardial infarction - cardiogenic shock, or AMI-CS). Called the National Cardiogenic Shock Initiative (NCSI), this multicenter study assessed the feasibility of whether outcomes in cardiogenic shock can be improved by using standardized best practices such as inserting a special heart pump to protect patients during percutaneous coronary interventions.

From prevention to diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation, numerous services are available throughout our five-hospital network.

Our Services Include:

  • Diagnostic and imaging technology to find heart disease early, when it's most treatable
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Open-heart surgeries including coronary bypass and valve repair
  • Cardiac defibrillator andbiventricular pacemaker insertion
  • Carotid stenting
  • Venous stenting
  • Heart failure care
  • Specialized treatment for heart rhythm disorders (atrial fibrillation)
  • Cardiac rehabilitation that combines education, support and exercise therapy

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

A Woman’s Risk for Heart Disease is Different: Here’s What You Need to Know

Heart disease is a big issue in the United States for both men and women alike. But some risk factors are more unique to women.
Read more »

What Do Doctors Have To Say About Your Heart?

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.
Read more »

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.
Read more »

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.
Read more »

Start My Assessment