Hello. This is Heart Health Tuesdays! Today, we’ll talk about how smoking causes a rise in blood pressure. As a doctor, I tell my patients that tobacco and smoking causes a rise in blood pressure. There are other factors that will increase your blood pressure such as obesity, lack of exercise, poor nutrition and moderate alcohol intake.
Damages Blood Vessels
So why does smoking cause a rise in blood pressure? Smoking injures and constricts the blood vessel walls, and speeds up the process of hardening your arteries, which ultimately increases your blood pressure. So, even though smoking doesn’t immediately increase your blood pressure it leads to the changes in your arteries that will increase your blood pressure.
Also, smoking can cause a rise in blood pressure from the nicotine. Nicotine, found in all forms of tobacco, will temporarily increase your blood pressure and elevate your heart rate with each use. It also causes a nicotine high that smokers appear to enjoy. These effects cause long term heart problems that lead to heart attacks and stroke. In fact, if you quit smoking your risk of heart attack will decrease after one year of not smoking. This means that smoking is such a potent health hazard that it takes one year for the chemical substances to clear your body to decrease your risk of heart attack.
Another way smoking causes a rise in blood pressure and negatively impacts your heart health is by adding carbon monoxide to your blood through the smoking process. This carbon monoxide takes up the space on the hemoglobin that carries oxygen in the blood system. This means that there is less oxygen available to your cells and makes the heart work harder to get enough oxygen to the rest of the body including the brain and heart.
Blood Cholesterol and Fibrinogen
Smoking also increases your blood cholesterol and fibrinogen. Fibrinogen is a factor that affects clotting of the blood. The affect on both of these factors means that a smokers blood will clot more easily and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. This increases the risk of coronary heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, stroke and heart attack.
Damage To Lungs And Airways
Smoking also impacts other organ systems. For instance, smokers have damage to their lungs and airways. The cilia, or small hairs that keep the lungs clean, are unable to sweep away the harmful chemicals that assault the lungs each day with smoking. Eventually this damage can produce cancer or can damage the pulmonary system through chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and/or emphysema. This chronic damage leads to damage to the arterial system leading to pulmonary hypertension.
So, while smoking will cause not only a temporary hike in blood pressure and heart rate, it will also increase your blood pressure on a long-term basis. Those who have high blood pressure will find that smoking negatively impacts their ability to control this silent killer. Those who don’t yet have high blood pressure will find that they have an increased risk of developing this silent killer.
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute: Does Smoking Tobacco Cause High Blood Pressure
American Heart Association: Prevention and Treatmet
NHS: High Blood Pressure Prevention
SteadyHealth: Why does smoking cause a rise in blood pressure
MayoClinic: High Blood Pressure
Illinois Department of Public Health: High Blood Pressue
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I’m excited to talk about this topic today because not only do I truly believe that you have the power to reverse heart disease and lower high blood pressure to improve your health, but the science also agrees! You can adopt healthy lifestyle practices that improve your health and enrich your life, which can in turn improve the lives of those close to you. You have the power to break the cycle of these chronic diseases so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.
As you may already know, I use lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle practices, such as eating a whole-food plant-based diet and regular physical activity, can help you improve blood pressure and reverse heart disease. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy. But I always tell my patients that conventional medications may be appropriate at this time to prevent catastrophic illness, but over time, you can work to make the necessary lifestyle changes to possibly reduce and/or eliminate medications. Please remember to always consult your physician for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any decisions whatsoever.
Is Dietary Supplementation Right For You?
There is a common saying, “You can’t outrun a bad diet.” This is especially true when it comes to heart health. Diet is sooooo very important… Did you know that your diet could be the key to a healthy heart? It’s true – what you eat (and don’t eat) can have a big impact on your cardiovascular health. So, if you’re looking to keep your heart in tip-top shape, make sure you pay attention to what you put on your plate.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to eat a healthy diet in this day and age. It is very important to note that we are not eating the same foods we ate years ago because the soils have been depleted of critical nutrients through current industrial farming practices. And because the soil is not as good as it used to be, the food supply (grown from the depleted soil) is not as good as it used to be. For example, you are not getting the same levels of magnesium as you would have gotten 30 or even 50 years ago.
Second, much of the food has been genetically altered, which can impact the inherent and unique nutritional composition that each food possess. For example, ancient einkorn wheat has less gluten, more protein, more Vitamin A, and more beta carotene, than modern genetically modified wheat.
Third, the toxic load in the environment today is much higher than 100 years ago. We can see this with global warming, toxic landfills, polluted oceans and waterways, etc. Toxicity levels interfere with nutrient assimilation and absorption not just into the foods, but into our bodies as well.
For some people, vitamin and mineral supplements offer important health benefits. Supplements are designed to fight deficiencies found in our diet and complement the food we eat regularly. Supplements are basically “helping hands” to our daily food.
If you need extra help in getting the nutrients you need, and/or are unable to eat better, the supplements in my Healthy Heart Bundle may provide the extra boost you need.
These are my favorite Heart Health Supplements to use! This Healthy Heart Bundle will ensure you have the intake of the important vitamins, minerals, and probiotics to decrease inflammation and boost your innate wellness day and night. Taken together, it’s a solid plan for increasing your body’s natural resiliency while you lose weight and improve your heart health, naturally.
For best results make sure you use my heart health supplements with dietary changes including a whole food plant-based diet, regular exercise (at least 2-3x per week), regular sleep (8 hours per night), and intermittent fasting (at least 1-3x per week).
Tools to Improve Heart Health
Blood Pressure Monitoring
It’s very important to monitor your blood pressure. I often recommend an automatic upper arm blood pressure cuff, but a wrist blood pressure monitor is also acceptable.
Since weight management is very important in blood pressure control, I recommend that you be mindful of your weight and its fluctuations, and that you monitor your weight AT LEAST on a weekly basis. I recommend a scale that includes a body composition monitor.
Taking Charge Of Your Heart Health
Heart health is a big topic. It’s in the news, on our minds, and for good reason; heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the U.S. But what if there was something you could do proactively to help protect your heart from future problems? Enter the CardiaX test—a revolutionary new way to take charge of your heart health!
What is CardiaX?
CardiaX is a comprehensive genetic testing panel that looks at mutations associated with common cardiovascular risks. It can be used to determine if there are any genetic factors at play in your heart health, and it can also identify potential areas of risk that may require further action. With this knowledge, you can make informed choices about your health today with the aim of improving long-term heart health outcomes.
Who Might Benefit from CardiaX?
If you have been diagnosed with or are at risk for atherosclerosis, abnormal cholesterol production, hypertension, stroke risk, and risk for heart attack then you may benefit from this test. Additionally, anyone who wants to know more about their genetic predispositions for common cardiovascular risks may also want to consider taking this test as well.
What Can I Do With My Results?
Your results will give you an indication of whether or not there are any potential genetic markers playing a role in your risk for developing certain conditions related to heart health. From there, you can work with your healthcare provider to develop a plan that takes into account these findings and helps you develop strategies for managing them going forward. In addition to lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise modification, selecting medications that are tailored specifically to your genetics could be beneficial as well.
In A Nutshell…
The CardiaX test is an exciting new way to take charge of your heart health by learning more about how genetics might be playing a role in certain cardiovascular risks. With this knowledge in hand, patients can make decisions informed by their own unique genetic profile that will help reduce their overall risk for developing certain conditions associated with heart disease. This type of proactive approach is key when it comes to protecting ourselves against this all-too-common affliction—so don’t wait another minute! Take control of your future and get started with the CardiaX test today!
Remember, healthy lifestyle behaviors–like eating a whole-foods plant-based diet that is low in sodium, being physically active, and stress management are the best ways to prevent and control high blood pressure. Please talk with your doctor about any complementary health approaches, including supplements, you use.
Let me know what you think in the comment section below.
PS. I am always asked what tools and resources I recommend to help you reach YOUR health goals. Here is the ever-growing, always updated list for you.
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