Most people must have realized the dangers of smoking to the entire health. Despite this, many people are still smoking and find it very hard to free themselves from these rolled nicotine. There are some main organs inside the body which are influenced every time an individual smokes. In many cases, smoking affect the lungs and thus, may trigger respiratory system-related health issues. In fact, smoking does not only affect your lungs, but also the heart. There are some heart-related diseases, such as atherosclerosis, strokes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol which occur due to smoking. Smoking is researched to influence your blood cholesterol level significantly.
Does smoking raise cholesterol levels?
If you are having a high cholesterol level, smoking is going to aggravate the problem, putting you into a greater level of heart-disease risk. Related to cholesterol level, smoking affects it in some ways as:
- Smoking can directly lower the level of good cholesterol or the HDL in your bloodstream. Women generally have higher level of HDL compared to men. When they are smoking, they reduce its protective effects against heart disease. Pregnant women who are smokers will expose their baby to lower HDL level compared those who are not. Lower level of HDL may elevate cholesterol level in the bloodstream, although it is also influenced by the level of LDL and triglycerides.
- Smoking may not directly raise the level of LDL or the bad cholesterol. However, the toxins from cigarettes have a significant role for oxidized LDL in the bloodstream, which triggers the risk of inflammation.
- Smoking affects lipid metabolism and thus, raises total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL numbers. Higher cholesterol level can be a crucial health problem that raises the possibility of having stroke and heart attack.
- Since smoking raises overall cholesterol level, it is simultaneously possible for this habit to put smokers into a greater risk of having atherosclerosis. This is a condition where excess cholesterol, which is not disposed from the body causes build ups around the arteries walls. If smoking is continued, these build ups elevate. Eventually, they cause thickening artery walls and may trigger blood vessel blockage. This, thus, elevates the risk of stroke and high blood pressure.
- People who are smoking, according to various research, are not practicing healthy lifestyle simultaneously. As a result, they rarely take low-cholesterol, heart-friendly diet and lifestyle. Toxins from smoking, fats from unhealthy diet choices, and lack of exercises are likely to combine and thus, make them more susceptible to high cholesterol level. Foods which are low in fiber and vitamins are processed quickly, resulted in high blood sugar that adds the number of total cholesterol.
Passive smoker’s risks
The risk of having high cholesterol level and thus, cardiovascular diseases is often related to those who are actively smoking. Related to this, where do the passive smokers stand? These passive smokers are those who are not actively smoking, but are exposed to the exhaled cigarette smoke. Children and teenagers are the most frequently affected ones, especially if they are raised in a household wherein one of both parents are smokers.
- Surprisingly, passive smokers or secondhand smokers are exposed to similarly bad effects of smoking as those who are actively smoking. Hence, although you are not a smoker, you might still experience cholesterol build ups on the artery walls and thus, may be at risk of having cardiovascular diseases, especially if you inhale these secondhand smoke frequently or excessively.
- Female secondhand smokers are affected more than the male ones. In normal condition, when unaffected by smoke and other external factors, HDL level in women is higher than in men. When affected by secondhand smoke, though, this level of HDL drops more significantly in women than men, leaving women with a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases compared to men. Pregnant women who are secondhand smokers are also susceptible of decreasing their children’s HDL level.