How Smoking Affects the Human Circulatory System

Cigarette smoking can lead to a host of medical conditions and diseases, lung cancer being the leading one. As much as the lungs are adversely affected by smoke it’s not just these two vital organs that are affected. Considering the human body works as a unit, each part playing a critical role to the survival of the others, this isn’t surprising.

The circulatory system consists of a number of different parts. In general, the heart, the veins, arteries and capillaries, the lungs and, of course, the blood that’s circulated throughout it. When one part of this unison is unfavorably affected by anything, in this case smoke, the rest of the body suffers as a result. Let’s take a look at how smoking affects the human circulatory system and how that, in turn, affects the rest of the body.

The most obvious effect of smoking can be found in the lungs. Tar, and other residue from smoke, leaves its most noticablemark on the lungs. It’s reported that smoking one pack of cigarettes per day for one year will leave up to one quart of tar locked inside your lungs. This tar build-up smothers the capillaries preventing them from efficiently exchanging carbon dioxide and oxygen. The result? Less oxygen in your blood for your body to live on and traces of carbon dioxide and cell matter left in the blood stream. And that’s not the only thing affected by smoking.

Smoking causes the blood vessels to constrict or become tighter. This forces the heart to work harder to circulate blood through the body which in turn cause blood pressure to rise. The tar from smoke works its way into your blood stream causing the blood to become sticky. This can lead to the development of blood clots. In addition, it slows the flow of blood which can deprive the extremities of oxygen. All of these conditions significantly increase the chance of heart attack or stroke. It’s also speculated that the inner lining of the arteries are damaged by smoke which contributes to the development of fatty deposits inside the arteries. This condition is known as atherosclerosis. All of these factors contribute to the human circulatory system working less affectively, which means the body as a whole becomes less efficient at caring for itself.

If it wasn’t before, it should now be apparent just how detrimental smoke can be to the human circulatory system as well as the body’s ability to function as it was intended to. If you smoke, do what you can to stop. Your body needs you too and, in the end, it may mean the difference between life and death.