Quit Smoking and Reduce Your Blood PressurePJ Prins
On the one hand, doctors regularly tell their patients to stop smoking if they have high blood pressure. On the other hand, it might not make sense…
After all, what does your lungs have to do with your blood pressure?
Well, there are two contributing factors:
Firstly, smoking in itself raises your blood pressure. Not only does it raise a little bit with every puff, but it remains higher for several minutes after you had a cigarette.
Secondly, long term smokers tend to have lesser lung capacity, which means that they absorb less oxygen with each breath they take. As such, the heart tends to beat faster in order to send more blood to the muscles, in the hope that more oxygen with reach the muscles. This in turn increases blood pressure.
Lastly, smoking tends to cause a residue in your arteries – much like cholesterol does. Over time it compounds, systematically worsening the problem. On top of that, smoking actually damages the walls of your blood vessels, and the resulting inflammation causes a further decrease in their capacity.
Of course, when you already suffer from high blood pressure, the added build-up (from smoking) in your arteries makes the problem even worse.
The fact that smoking causes a residue in the arteries of smokers makes you wonder about the effect of nicotine patches and nicotine gum – both of which are popular methods to quit (or cut down on) smoking.
What many people fail to realise, however, is this:
The problem isn’t limited to smokers.
People who are exposed (regularly) to second hand smoke also suffer the same consequences, including reduced lung capacity, and the residual build-up in their arteries.
As such, someone who smokes may contribute to to the ill health of others in his or her family who struggle with high blood pressure – without even knowing it.
So – if you want to lower your blood pressure, quit smoking.
And if you want to help someone else who has high blood pressure, and is exposed to you smoking…
If you don’t, you simply make it worse over time.