How does smoking affect the cardiovascular system?
In posing health risks on the body's cardiovascular system, smoking:
- Causes immediate and long-term increases in blood pressure
- Causes immediate and long-term increases in heart rate
- Reduces cardiac output and coronary blood flow
- Reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches the body's tissues
- Changes the properties of blood vessels and blood cells—allowing cholesterol and other fatty substances to build up
- Contributes to higher blood pressure and increased risk for blood clot formation
- Damages blood vessels
- Doubles the risk of ischemic stroke (reduced blood flow to the brain)
- Stimulates the blood clotting process
In addition, smoking has been associated with depression and psychological distress.