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How does smoking increase my risk for atherosclerosis?

Smoking leads to Coronary Artery Disease. Smoking also causes many other illnesses including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer and strokes. Smoking may increase hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis, as well.

Nicotine in cigarettes causes constriction in blood vessels. That, in turn, causes an increase in blood pressure, making the heart work harder. Furthermore, nicotine might constrict coronary arteries, reducing blood flow to the heart muscle.

Dropping the cigarette habit is not impossible. There are many ways to quit smoking - and quit completely. You can do this by yourself, with support groups or with the help of nicotine gum or a nicotine patch. Ask your doctor about options.

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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.