Our heart is more at risk every day due to cigarette smoking

Among the factors favoring the development of lifestyle-related cardio and cerebrovascular diseases, smoking is probably the most potent

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Our heart is more at risk every day due to cigarette smoking

Among the factors favoring the development of lifestyle-related cardio and cerebrovascular diseases, smoking is probably the most potent. Carbon monoxide and nicotine, in particular, are mainly responsible for the negative effects on arterial vessels: the walls of the arteries stiffen, blood pressure rises, the process of formation of atherosclerotic plaques is accelerated.

Tissue oxygenation is reduced. Quitting smoking has numerous benefits, some practically immediate: within the first 2 hours there is a normalization of the heart rate and an improvement in blood pressure values. The risk of cardiovascular disease decreases 1 year after the last cigarette; after 15 years the risk is equal to that of a non-smoker.

Our heart is more at risk every day due to cigarette smoking

Atherosclerosis is a degenerative disease that affects the arteries of medium and large caliber. On the internal walls of the arteries, accumulations of fibrous tissue and lipids are created.

They are the so-called atheromas or atheromatous plaques and / or fibroadipose. The Greek root atero means mush. Small small thickening of the wall of the vase can be realized but also more serious and complex pictures. Over time, in fact, the plaques can grow, compromising the elasticity of the vessel wall and obstructing the blood flow inside it.

The artery can become obstructed, resulting in peculiar signs of ischemic suffering depending on the characteristics of the different organs or tissues. What are the risk factors? Some are constitutional, such as old age or genetic factors.

Others are potentially controllable, such as hypertension, smoking, high blood cholesterol, diabetes. Most of the toxic and potentially carcinogenic substances produced in the combustion of a cigarette are contained in the smoke residue obtained by removing the water and nicotine.

The harmful substances of smoke that can directly damage the respiratory system, irritate and predispose to further damage, but also indirectly the rest of the body, are essentially products of the incomplete combustion of tobacco and paper, and volatilized substances due to the relatively high temperature.

One cigarette burns between 25 and 30 mg of ascorbic acid. A peak in the production of free radicals and oxidants occurs in the first minutes of combustion. With the chemiluminescence technique, it has been verified that this first peak is significantly reduced by acetylcysteine and erdosteine, and even more so by the glutathione derivative.

With the same technique a second more significant peak was highlighted for the first time, after 12-14 minutes, which disappears with the addition of antioxidants such as sodium selenite, vitamin C or A/C/E to the cigarette, and is reduced slightly with uric acid, in the impossibility of taking them in adequate doses directly to the lung.

Dietary intake of resveratrol appears to dramatically reduce symptoms of airway obstruction in smokers and chronically ill people, not the permanence of toxic substances in the lungs. If smoking is among the possible causes of an increase in red blood cells (polycythemia, volume percentage), alcohol causes a lower production of the number of blood cells up to anemia conditions.