Nagpur: “Smoking kills your Heart.” “Heart disease emerging No1 killer of Indians.” “70% of the urban Indian population at risk of heart disease.” These and other “Heart Touching” headlines scream every now and then. And, it is true, dreadfully.
Come September 29, the World Heart Day will be celebrated across the world with a different theme but emphasize would be certainly on key issues and topics relating to heart health. Nagpur Today, in its endeavour to create awareness among masses, talked to Dr. Rajesh Swarnakar, Lung Specialist and Director Getwell Hospital, Nagpur, who threw light on the deadly effects of smoking, rampant today, specifically on heart.
Dr Swarnakar began by saying that Heart & Lungs work in tandem in our body to supply oxygenated blood to vital organs. The primary function of lungs in our body is to oxygenate the venous blood which comes from Right side of heart and return pure oxygenated blood to Left side of heart from where it is supplied to whole body through its pumping action. In normal circumstances the right heart pumps blood into the lungs without any resistance. The lungs usually have minimal pressure and the right heart easily pumps blood through. We derive oxygen from the air that we breathe in from the atmosphere. But by habit of smoking one starts inhaling toxins instead of pure air and this intricate balance between lungs and heart gets disturbed.
The Specialist further said, “Any chronic lung diseases will lead to serious heart problem and vice versa. Smoking habit can lead to chronic lung diseases like COPD which causes Pulmonary Hypertension. The blood vessels of the lungs are significantly reduced in number due to lung tissue destruction and /or chronically constricted due to poor ventilation. The right ventricle is no longer able to push blood into the lungs effectively and this chronic overload eventually causes heart to fail. These Pulmonary Heart Diseases also known, as Cor Pulmonale is the enlargement and failure of the Right ventricle of the heart as a response to increased vascular resistance or high blood pressure in the lungs called as Pulmonary Hypertension. Other chronic lung diseases apart from COPD that can cause Pulmonary Hypertension are uncontrolled persistent asthma, Interstitial Lung Disease, End stage pneumoconiosis, untreated Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) etc. OSA usually happens in habitual loud snorer’s who are obese and have excessive daytime sleepiness. Its one of the independent risk factor for causing systemic hypertension as well”.
“If you are a smoker stopping smoking is the single most important step you can take to protect the health of your heart. Smokers are almost twice as likely to have heart attack compared with people who have never smoked. Smoking damages the lining of your arteries leading to a build up of fatty material (atheroma), which narrows the artery. This can cause angina, a heart attack or a stroke. The carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke reduces the amount of oxygen inhaled in your blood. This means your heart has to pump harder to supply the body with oxygen it needs. The nicotine in cigarettes stimulates the body to produce adrenaline, which makes heart beat faster and raises blood pressure. Also the blood is more likely to clot which increases risk of having a heart attack or stroke. When non – smokers breathe in second hand smoke, also known, as passive smoking-it can be harmful. Research shows that exposure to second hand tobacco smoke is a cause of heart diseases in non smokers, which means you could be harming health of your children, partner and friends. Your heart will thank you for quitting smoking, so don’t waste any time. The health benefits start almost immediately and within a few years of quitting your risk of stroke and coronary diseases are similar to non-smokers. Some smoker has said ” Quitting smoking is most easy thing, I have done it several times” meaning keeping a sustained smoke free status needs strong will power and support from family and friends. There are also some drugs available to curb that “craving” on a daily basis to help one out in initial period of abstinence but best medicine is to realize its benefit and have commitment for life without smoking forever.”