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?

As the first hospital in Arkansas to provide open-heart surgery, Northwest Medical Center - Springdale, along with its sister hospital Northwest Medical Center-Bentonville, have offered leading edge cardiac services for many years. Additionally, Northwest Medical Center - Springdale was the first hospital in Northwest Arkansas to achieve Cycle IV Chest Pain Center Accreditation with Primary PCI through the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC). Northwest Medical Center - Bentonville achieved the same accreditation, and both hospitals maintain this accreditation today (now cycle V) to show Northwest Health's continued commitment to your heart.

Northwest Health is a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, a select group of independent health systems that work closely with Mayo Clinic to improve the delivery of health care and better serve their patients and their communities. Patients experience the confidence of being able to access world-leading medical expertise through their trusted Northwest Health doctor, with the comfort and convenience of staying close to home.

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 and Biventricular Pacemaker Insertion
  • Carotid Stenting
  • Venous Stenting
  • Comprehensive heart failure care
  • Specialized treatment for heart rhythm disorders (Atrial Fibrillation)
  • Cardiac rehabilitation that combines education, support and exercise therapy

Heart Healthy Resources

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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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