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Smoking a Pack, a Day? Know Your Hypertension Risk

By now it’s been well documented that smoking has an adverse effect on one’s body. But despite that people still go ahead and take a puff from the non-lit end of their cigarette because it helps them combat the stresses of our modern lifestyle. We know that smoking has a direct effect on the lungs, causing various ailments, from bronchitis to lung cancer. But the fact that it negatively impacts the circulatory system and thus influencing hypertension is not well known.

The biggest culprit for this is the nicotine present in the cigarettes. When burnt it gets activated and dissipated into the smoke from where it enters your system, spiking your heart rate and blood pressure, overtime which results in the hardening of the arterial walls thus narrowing the passage for blood flow. Cigarette smoke usually has more than 4,000 chemicals that finds their way inside our system through second hand smoke as well, so being in the presence of a smoker is detrimental for those with hypertension. Nicotine also has an addictive effect on its consumers, thus making it difficult for people to kick that habit. Chewing tobacco or smoking cigarettes has also been observed to immediately raise the blood pressure of the smoker with every instance, additionally the chemicals found in tobacco also damage the lining of the arterial walls thus making the smooth, regular flow of blood difficult and contributing to a higher blood pressure. This combination of hypertension and smoking considerably increases one’s risk of getting a stroke or a heart attack as compared to a non-smoker with hypertension.

It can be extremely difficult to quit smoking, especially due to the addictive nature of nicotine. Many people who try to quit relapse due to the lack of proper plan. So, for those looking to quit smoking in order to improve their quality of life, here are a few tips:

How to Quit Smoking

You need to prepare and get support. Use these tips to get started:

  • Decide on a date to stop smoking, and tell a doctor or a friend who can support you through it.
  • Note down the reason for you quitting the habit of smoking, and ensure it’s someplace you can read it every day to remind yourself daily.
  • Try to figure out what your triggers to smoke are. What situations, emotions or people force you to reach for a cigarette.
  • Nicotine gum and patches are known to help some people fight their cravings, find out from your doctor about the same.
  • Enrol yourself in a support group or program for people who are trying to quit smoking.
  • Keep all paraphernalia associated cigarettes out of your sight. Eg: matches, lighter, cigarettes etc
  • If someone who you meet on a daily basis smokes, request them to not smoke around you.
  • Don’t focus on the past or the present, think of the future. Don’t worry about what you’ve given up, Don’t focus on what you have given up. Focus on how much healthier you’ll be by kicking this habit.
  • Fight your urges to smoke by practicing focused breathing exercises for a few times.
  • It’s normal to have the desire to pick up a cigarette as your hands are used to it as well, keep them occupied by doodling, playing with your phone or practicing mudras.
  • Cigarette breaks are commonplace at workspaces, so avoid that by reading a book or learning a new skill instead.
  • As much as possible, avoid people and situations that give you the urge to smoke.
  • Head to your nearest gym or park, and build up a sweat! It’s a fantastic way to relax and destress, helping you combat the need to smoke.
  • Support is essential. Make people aware of your goal to stop smoking and enrol their support!

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