Yesterday was a really scary day, as my husband was diagnosed with acute cardiovascular disease, with blockages of plaques in his coronary arteries that feed his heart. It is not fun when a loved one is given this kind of diagnosis, but then, I knew he was getting sicker. It has been a long journey for him, and it all is because of his smoking. It prompted me to review my scientific research, and review how cigarettes and smoking causes cardiovascular disease, and share my findings in order to continue my quest of helping smokers quit and do it on their own terms.
Cardiovascular Disease is a Vessel Disease
Any time you are hearing the terms “blocked coronaries”, “heart disease”, or “blocked arteries”, the reference is to the cardiovascular disease of the arteries that supply the heart itself with blood. The majority of the arteries that feed the heart are tiny, and important. Unlike the tiny arteries in your hands and feet, that can be blocked as well, there are many other capillaries and fellow arteries that can take on the extra challenge. In your heart, there are only a few arteries that feed the oxygen and nutrition that your heart needs to beat and keep you alive. The heart is nothing more than a really reliable pump, that just is a monster muscle, and as such, needs its oxygen and food at a regular rate. When one of these arteries becomes clogged with plaques from cholesterol or triglycerides, the heart cannot be fed, and the muscle dies, and a heart attack occurs. The heart attack that killed NBC Anchorman, Tim Russert, is commonly called the “Widowmaker”, as the left Anterior Descending coronary artery can be often occluded in coronary artery disease, and the heavy deposits burst the vessel, causing a fast and killing bleed.
All of this detail is frightening, and may make you cause you to turn your head, or click off this page, but I beg you, keep reading. For my husband, the artery that was found to be 100% blocked, was in fact, the left anterior descending coronary artery. Luckily for him and for us all, his heart was noticing early loss of nutrition and oxygen, and was creating a new network of arteries to his heart called coronary collateral circulation, and this is why he had not experienced a heart attack yet, and was still alive today.
Why Smoking is The Main Cause of Cardiovascular Disease
The most trying thing about smoking, is how it can create a short life span, no matter how determined you may be that it is not occurring. If you are certain that after smoking for years, this will never happen to you, I understand. The hope is always with each and every smoker, that they can be that winning smoker who never develops coronary or cardiovascular disease. I am living with such a person, and it is just amazing that he is still alive!
That being said, I really wanted to find out why smoking is so bad for you once again, and why it causes heart arteries to clog up so effectively. How can the smoke do this? It is just such a long way from your everyday drag, to the little important vessels on your heart. So, in review, I found a great reference from Webmd, that brings the story more insight.
Cardiovascular Disease Can be Repaired by Your Quit
As we went through the day at the hospital yesterday, and received the diagnosis after a length angioplasty procedure, and after much discussion, we know now what arteries are blocked, and what medicine will repair the areas, and increase blood flow to the heart. But first and foremost on every doctor’s consultation we had yesterday, was the repeated request that smoking cession be the key focus. Now with a constant diagnosis pattern, and the fact that he will die without the quit, he is resolved. Of course, it will be a long process, and I am here to help, but the most important thing we discovered from yesterday, is that quitting smoking is very important for solving cardiovascular disease, and being able to be alive.