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Does smoking increase my risk of having a stroke?

The risk of ischemic stroke is twice as high for smokers as for nonsmokers, and smoking quadruples the risk of hemorrhagic stroke.

Smoking also contributes to many of the other stroke risk factors: it raises blood pressure, reduces the level of beneficial high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, damages the protective lining of the blood vessels, and makes blood more prone to clot. The more you smoke, the greater your risk of stroke. Exposure to other people's tobacco smoke also substantially increases the risk of stroke, almost as much as active smoking.
Smoking doubles your risk of having a stroke. For younger women, the combination of smoking and oral contraceptives can be particularly dangerous in terms of stroke risk.
Here is how smoking and stroke risk are connected: Cigarette smoking contributes directly to damaging the smooth inner lining of the carotid arteries - blood vessels in the neck that carry blood to the brain. This damage diminishes the ability of the arteries to prevent blockages and contributes to the formation of a fatty substance (called plaque) on damaged areas of the arteries. Smoking also increases blood pressure and lowers levels of "good" cholesterol, thereby further increasing the risk for stroke.
 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.