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?

Taking good care of your heart may help reduce your risk of heart disease and help you live a long and healthy life. The team at Southside Regional Medical Center will help you every step of the way. We offer a comprehensive array of diagnostic and treatment tools to diagnose cardiac conditions quickly and accurately. Our center is fully equipped to treat all aspects of cardiovascular disease. From diagnosis to treatment, we are the partner of choice for matters of the heart.

Southside Regional Medical Center is leading the way in heart care.

  • We are the first hospital in Central Virginia to have an accredited Cardiac Cath Lab by the American College of Cardiology (ACC).
  • Our Cardiovascular Lab is accredited by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission for Vascular Testing.
  • We are an accredited Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI by the American College of Cardiology (ACC).
  • We are certified by The Joint Commission with a Gold Seal of Approval® as an Advanced Stroke Center.

Our Cardiac and Vascular Services Include:

  • Advanced diagnostic and imaging technology such as echocardiography and stress testing, to find heart disease early, when it's most treatable
  • Cardiac Catheterization
  • Cardiac Electrophysiology
  • Cardiac Defibrillator and Biventricular Pacemaker Insertion
  • Venous Stenting
  • Open heart surgery including coronary bypass and valve repair
  • Comprehensive heart failure care
  • Specialized treatment for heart rhythm disorders (AFib)
  • Heart and vascular 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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