Your doctor will tell you that tobacco and smoking cause 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.
So why does smoking cause a rise in blood pressure? Smoking injures 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.
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Also, smoking can cause a rise in blood pressure from the nicotine. Nicotine that is 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 impact 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.
Smoking also increases your blood cholesterol and fibrinogen. Fibrinogen is a factor that affects clotting of the blood. The effect on both of these factors means that a smoker’s 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.
Smoking also impacts other organ systems that are a factor in a way that causes a rise in blood pressure. For instance, smokers have damage to their lung systems 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 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 killer.
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute: Does Smoking Tobacco Cause High Blood Pressure
American Heart Association: Prevention and Treatment
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 Pressure