Health Tip: Smoking Strains the Heart
(HealthDay News) -- Smokers may love the habit, but tobacco smoke doesn't love the heart.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says smoking can harm the heart in many ways, including:
- Causing thickened blood, making it more difficult for the blood to transport oxygen throughout the body.
- Increasing blood pressure and heart rate, forcing the heart to work harder.
- Lowering HDL ("good") cholesterol and raising LDL ("bad") cholesterol and triglycerides.
- Causing abnormal heart rhythms and an increase in inflammation, which may cause a build-up of arterial plaque.
- Causing hardening of the artery walls, which can cause narrowing and make it more difficult for the heart to pump blood.
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