Despite the fact that we’ve been aware of the dangers of smoking for decades, it’s estimated that 16 million people still live with smoking-related conditions. Additionally, nearly half a million people die from conditions caused by smoking annually, and smokers tend to die a decade sooner than those who don’t.
The addictive nature of nicotine is very powerful, and people who don’t stop smoking risk a future of many terrible conditions, such as emphysema, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and lung cancer.
Smoking also raises the risks of many cardiovascular conditions due to the impact it can have on your cholesterol.
Residents of Beverly Hills, California, struggling with cholesterol problems related to smoking can find help with Dr. Shawn Veiseh and his experienced, dedicated, medical staff. We specialize in finding ways to give you the best health care on your schedule, with numerous in-house options for single visit exams and diagnostic tests.
Let’s look at the common causes of high cholesterol, the effects of smoking on your body, and what smoking does to affect the amount of cholesterol in your body.
Causes of high cholesterol
Cholesterol is the name for the waxy substance found in your blood that helps to build healthy cells, but high levels of bad cholesterol can lead to a variety of problems that can affect your cardiovascular system.
High density lipoprotein, or HDL, is beneficial to your body and helps carry excess cholesterol and remove it from your blood or break it into smaller components in your liver. Low density lipoprotein, or LDL, is the bad cholesterol that builds up in the walls of your arteries, making them harder and narrower, and is associated with a wide variety of health conditions.
LDL cholesterol is often caused by:
- Unhealthy diet
- Sedentary lifestyle
But understanding how smoking affects cholesterol starts with knowing what smoking does to your body.
The effects of smoking
The tobacco people smoke (which is riddled with thousands of other dangerous chemicals) causes harm to pretty much your whole body.
The process of smoking releases carcinogens into your body, which are cancer causing chemicals that go directly into your lungs, blood, and other organs. It lowers the oxygen your body receives, which directly affects the health of tissue, decreases lung function, and can even lead to erectile dysfunction.
How smoking affects cholesterol
Smoking lowers your HDL cholesterol, which increases your risk of many heart conditions, in addition to the effect it already has on your lungs. It increases the deposit of plaque in your arteries, and worsens inflammation.
Chronic inflammation in your arteries leads to atherosclerosis, also referred to as hardening of the arteries, which in turn leads to coronary artery disease. To make matters worse, people who smoke and deal with other conditions that cause LDL cholesterol are at even greater risk for heart attack, stroke, and other related conditions.
If ever there was another reason to stop smoking, the damage it can potentially do to your heart is certainly a worthy one. Smoking is an addiction, which can make stopping especially hard. But it can be done, and it will help you get healthier.
If you need to find ways to lower your cholesterol from smoking or other causes, schedule a visit with Dr. Veiseh to get on the road to better health and a longer life. Call our office or request an appointment online today.