Tuesday, August 27, 2013

So How Exactly Does Smoking Affect Your Bloodstream Ships

Smoking has a negative impact on many parts of your body. It can lead to heart disease, cancer, stroke, atherosclerosis and many other diseases. While some parts of the body are affected only after years of smoking, others, like blood vessels, are affected immediately.


Smoking causes blood vessels in the outer layers of your skin to narrow, which means your skin doesn't get the oxygen and nutrients from the blood that it needs. Lack of oxygen and nutrients, especially vitamin A, makes your skin age faster. It becomes dry and wrinkles form.

Vascular Disease

Smoking just one cigarette narrows blood vessels and slows circulation for up to 45 minutes. Constricted blood vessels in the feet are especially problematic. When blood vessels in the feet or legs become blocked, peripheral vascular disease develops and gangrene can set in. Lack of oxygen to small blood vessels can cause them to become inflamed and block arteries. Resulting infection, usually gangrene, can force amputations.


Blood vessels in the eyes are particularly sensitive and can be damaged by smoke. They can become bloodshot and itchy, and you could eventually lose some or all of your vision. Smoking more than 20 cigarettes a day doubles the risk of developing macular degeneration, an incurable disease that damages eyes and causes central vision loss.

Blood Flow

The inside of each blood vessel is coated with a thin layer of cells to keep blood flowing smoothly. Carbon monoxide from smoke damages these cells, and fat and plaque stick to blood vessel walls. Then nicotine causes growth of new blood vessels inside existing blood vessels that provide nutrients to the fat and plaque. This causes hardening of the arteries and makes veins and arteries clog and narrow faster.


Free radicals in tobacco smoke bind with cholesterol to damage the blood vessels and heart muscle. Smoking causes blood vessels to the heart to clump and become sticky. When clots form and arteries narrow, the part of the heart that gets oxygen and nutrients from clogged arteries will die. Smoking is a major cause of heart failure, heart attack, heart disease and stroke.

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