The nicotine in cigarette smoke is a big part of the problem. It raises your blood pressure and heart rate, makes your arteries more narrow and hardens their walls, and also makes your blood more likely to clot. It stresses your heart and sets you up for a heart attack or stroke.
In the vast majority of cases, there are no clear symptoms of high blood pressure (also known as hypertension), which can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and eye problems if untreated. The only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to get your blood pressure checked on a regular basis. This is especially important if you have a close relative who has high blood pressure.
If your blood pressure is extremely high, there may be certain symptoms to look out for, including:
Quitting smoking isn't easy, but as hard as it can be to kick the habit, you can do it. It will make a huge difference in your health, right down to the inside of your blood vessels. Kicking the habit is right up there with exercise, eating a healthy diet, and taking any medications that your doctor prescribes.
The bottom line: The stakes are too high to NOT quit, even if you need to quit several times before it lasts.
How to Quit Smoking
There's no single method that works for everyone. You need to prepare and get support. Here's how to start: