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Adverse Effects of Smoking on Cardiovascular System (Infographic) 

 Dr Sampurna Roy MD                     June  2016 



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Cigarette smoking is an important factor for myocardial infarction.


It acts along with with other risk factors, such as high blood pressure and elevated blood cholesterol levels.


Smoking not only precipitates initial myocardial infarction, but also increases the risk for second heart attack among those who continue to smoke.


Smoking also increases the incidence of sudden cardiac death, by exacerbating regional ischemia, an effect that may promote electrical instability of the heart.

Smoking by itself is not associated with an increased incidence of strokes, since high blood pressure is the major risk factor for stroke.

However, when hypertension is present, smoking acts synergistically to increase the risk not only of cardiac complications but of stroke as well.

Atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries and the aorta is more severe and extensive among cigarette smokers than among nonsmokers, and the effect is dose-related.

As a consequence, cigarette smoking is a strong risk factor for atherosclerotic aortic aneurysms. 

The mortality ratio (death rate of smokers vs. nonsmokers) for this disorder is about 8 to 1.

The incidence and severity of atherosclerotic peripheral vascular disease are remarkably increased by smoking.

Buerger’s disease, an inflammatory and occlusive disease of the vasculature of the lower leg was described in a patient population consisting mainly of Eastern European Ashkenazi Jews, almost all of whom were heavy smokers.

It is characterized by inflammation, fibrosis, and thrombosis of both the artery and its accompanying vein, leading to gangrene and amputation of the lower extremities. Buerger’s disease is rarely seen nowadays.


Further reading:

The effects of smoking on cardiovascular system .

Smoking and hypertension: effects on clinical, biochemical and pathological variables due to isolated or combined action on cardiovascular system.

Smoking and cardiovascular disease: mechanisms of endothelial dysfunction and early atherogenesis.

Effect of smoking and other traditional risk factors on the onset of coronary artery calcification: results of the Heinz Nixdorf recall study.


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Dr  Sampurna Roy  MD

Consultant  Histopathologist (Kolkata - India)








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