Did you know? Smoking is the single most preventable cause of death, yet there are more than 1 billion smokers around the world.

During American Heart Month this February, our team at AFC Urgent Care Farragut wants you to know how smoking cigarettes affects your heart health, as well as how you can take the first steps to quit smoking.

What Does Smoking Cigarettes Do to Your Heart?

Cigarette smoking can put you at an increased risk of many medical conditions, including heart disease. When you smoke, the chemicals from the cigarette move into your bloodstream.

Smoking causes your blood pressure to rise, increases your heart rate, weakens your arteries and can even cause your heart beat to get out of rhythm. Over time this damage can increase your risk of heart-related health issues, including heart disease.

Ways to Quit Smoking

  • Create a strategy for quitting.
  • Stay busy.
  • Use nicotine therapy for help in quitting, if necessary.
  • Attend a smoking cessation group.
  • Avoid individuals who are smoking.
  • Avoid situations in which you have a strong urge to smoke.

What Happens to Your Body When You Quit Smoking?

The benefits of smoking cessation are almost immediate. Just 20 minutes after you last smoke, your blood pressure and heart rate return to normal.

Twelve hours after you smoked your last cigarette, your body begins to cleanse itself of excess carbon monoxide.Then, after just a day of quitting, your risk of heart attack begins to decrease.

What to Do When You Have the Urge to Smoke

  • Drink a glass of water.
  • Eat a dill pickle.
  • Suck on a piece of tart candy.
  • Eat a popsicle.
  • Floss and brush your teeth.
  • Chew gum.

Wondering where your health stands? Visit AFC Urgent Care Farragut today for a checkup.