Causes the platelets in your blood to clump
together easily by making your blood cells more "sticky" and more likely to
form clots. Clumping platelets can then block your coronary arteries and cause
a heart attack.
Can cause spasms in your coronary arteries, which
can reduce the blood flow to your heart in a way similar to that of
Lowers "good" cholesterol
(high-density lipoprotein, or HDL). Cholesterol-carrying lipoproteins also more
easily enter the walls of your arteries, where they can develop into a hard
plaque and atherosclerosis.
Reduces the amount of oxygen that can
be carried by red blood cells in the bloodstream.
Your risk for CAD drops relatively soon after you quit
smoking. After your first year of not smoking, your risk of heart disease decreases by half. Also, your risk of having a heart attack decreases
when you stop smoking.1
When you quit smoking, you cut your risk of death even more by staying away from cigarettes
for good. After 15 years of not smoking, your risk of death from heart disease
is the same as if you had never smoked at all.1
If you have had
angioplasty or coronary artery bypass graft surgery to
repair narrowed or blocked arteries, quitting smoking can decrease the risk of
those arteries narrowing again.
Your doctor will urge you to quit smoking so you get the most benefit from these procedures.
How do I quit smoking?
Medicines and counseling can help you quit smoking. Talk with your doctor about ways to quit for good.
For more information, see the topic Quitting Smoking.