You probably know already that smoking is injurious to health, as it potentially causes lung cancer. But did you know it could also spike your blood pressure and put you at risk of heart diseases? This article is here to explain how smoking affects your blood pressure readings.
Smoking and Blood Pressure: What is the Link?
The nicotine present in cigarettes and other tobacco products cause your blood vessels to become narrow and your heart beat faster. This automatically results in a sharp rise in blood pressure.
Studies show that both smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke lead to the build-up of fatty substances, known as plaque, inside the arteries – this condition is called atherosclerosis. So, every time you take a puff, your blood pressure goes up temporarily.
Not only does chewing tobacco or smoking increase your blood pressure temporarily, but the chemicals found in them also damage the lining of the artery walls. This causes the arteries to become narrow and increases the risk of cardiovascular disorders.
How to Avoid the Effects the Smoking on Blood Pressure
The best way to bring down high blood pressure levels and prevent the risk of related diseases/conditions is to quit smoking right away.
Here is what you can do –
Prepare for a quit day once you decide on quitting cigarettes and make sure you stick to the plan
Turn to Nicotine Replacement Therapy – it gives you the pleasure of nicotine in the form of patches, gums, or lozenges but keeps you safe from the harmful chemicals in tobacco. Some people find NRT helpful. However, ask your doctor about the same before using them.
Use non-nicotine medications to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms
Try alternative therapies, like e-cigarettes, or acupuncture. Many people smoke when they feel stressed or anxious because they believe it calms their mind. Work towards reducing stress – try meditation and yoga and you may never have to smoke again.
Seek behavioural support – for some people, ditching the habit of smoking may not be a problem. However, for others, it could take some serious motivation and support from peers or a professional. Support groups and counselling can improve your chances of long-term smoking cessation.
The Bottom Line
Smoking causes acute blood pressure elevation and can even lead to several related health conditions, such as stroke or heart attack. It is advisable that you quit smoking immediately. In as less as one day after quitting the habit, you may see your blood pressure dropping to the normal range, which is 120/80mm/Hg – thus reducing the risk of complications resulting from smoking-induced high blood pressure.