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Vaping and Your Heart Health: What You Should Know

E-Cigarette users may be at higher risk for heart attack, coronary artery disease, and depression.

Once touted as the healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes, vaping has come under intense examination as more than 2,600 users have been hospitalized and 57 have died due to vaping-related illness or injury.

While many of the dangers of vaping have rightfully been linked to the lungs, that doesn't mean the rest of the body is immune from its potentially harmful effects. Vaping can have an adverse affect on your mouth, teeth, gums, throat, lungs, heart and even skin.

Vaping and your heart health

Vape users may be significantly more likely to suffer from heart attack, coronary artery disease and depression, according to new research published by the American College of Cardiology.

Users were one-third more likely to suffer a stroke and 56 percent more likely to have a heart attack compared to non-users. Coronary artery disease and circulatory problems were also higher among vape users.

Research has also shown vaping immediately stiffens and tightens your blood vessels, which limits the movement of oxygenated blood to and from the heart to other parts of the body: a true life necessity.

While these numbers are substantially greater in traditional smokers, that doesn't mean these problems don't exist among e-cigarette and vaping users.

"What we know is just don't do it," says Dr. Andrew Sauer, Cardiologist and Director of the Heart Failure Program at The University of Kansas Medical Center. "Vaping creates toxicity, inflammation, and stress on the arteries of the heart that appear to be worse than smoking tobacco."

Smoking increases your heart rate, causes a build up of plaque in arteries and can cause an irregular heart rhythm - all of which force your heart to work harder than it needs to. Blood pressure is also heightened due to smoking which can increase the risk of stroke.

While much of this research focuses specifically on smoking cigarettes, the newness of vaping and its recent growth in popularity still leaves a lot of its long-term impact, particularly on the heart, unknown.

"This is a particularly concerning area that will become much more talked about in the next few years, especially since the use among teenagers and adolescentshas skyrocketed," says Dr. Armin Krvavac, a pulmonologist at the University of Missouri Health Care.

As Dr. Sauer says, while there are still so many more unknowns when it comes to vaping, especially surrounding its effects on the heart, at this point it's best to curb or limit use until more data is made available.