Tuesday, August 27, 2013

So How Exactly Does Smoking Modify The Resting Pulse Rate

Heart at Rest

A person's resting pulse rate is exactly what it sounds like, the beats per minute when someone is at rest. Check for a resting heart rate first thing in the morning after a good night's sleep, but before rising. Place your index and middle fingers together on either your wrist or neck. Using the second hand of a clock, count the number of beats you feel for 15 seconds, then multiply by four.

Typically, a resting heart rate is anywhere between 60 to 80 beats per minute, though it will rise as a person ages. If a person is physically fit, the resting heart rate can lower to 40 to 60 beats a minute. The lower the resting heart rate, the better shape the heart is in. Unfortunately, many factors can increase a person's resting heart rate, such as poor diet or lack of exercise. Smoking is by far the hardest on the heart, increasing a person's resting heart rate by at least two to three beats per minute. Smoking along with unhealthy eating habits and no exercise can easily lead to a heart attack.

Most Important Muscle

The heart is a muscle and, like any other muscle in the body, must get exercise to effectively do its job. Every heartbeat is forcing blood, oxygen and nutrients through the body, keeping it alive and working. Exercise and eating healthy are necessary to ensure the heart is in optimum shape.

When a person smokes, the nicotine in the tobacco immediately raises the heart rate, the same as with exercise. But nicotine also constricts (or tightens) blood vessels, forcing the heart to work ever harder as it attempts to move blood through the smaller openings in the veins.

Because the heart is beating harder, it needs more oxygen. The difficulty lies in the fact that carbon monoxide, a chemical in cigarettes, steals oxygen from the blood, just when the heart needs it most. This forces the heart to work even more as it attempts to supply organs and cells with needed sustenance.

Healing the Heart

The heart begins to heal as soon as a smoker quits smoking. Within a very short time, the heart will begin to relax as the blood begins to thin and arteries start to heal. By the time a year has gone by, the chances of heart disease drop by 50 percent. Within three years, the chances are almost equal to someone who has never smoked.

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