Quitting smoking following a heart attack can help reduce a person’s risk of having another. If someone continues to smoke after a heart attack, they will still have a higher risk of experiencing another.
Quitting smoking can help someone person reduce their risk of subsequent heart attacks and early mortality.
This article reviews what a heart attack is, the risks of smoking after a heart attack, and the benefits of quitting smoking.
A heart attack, which healthcare professionals call a myocardial infarction,
Rapid restoration of blood flow is crucial for overall health and survival. A person should seek immediate treatment if they have any of the following symptoms:
People commonly experience heart attacks in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that every year,
Additionally, about 1 in 5 are silent heart attacks, which means a person does not realize they have had one. They may discover it on an unrelated health check appointment.
In the U.S., heart disease is the leading cause of death, with one person dying every 34 seconds from cardiovascular disease. The CDC lists smoking as a key risk factor for heart disease, which makes quitting smoking an important step in reducing someone’s risk of having another heart attack.
Is it a heart attack?
Heart attacks occur when there is a lack of blood supply to the heart. Symptoms include:
- chest pain, pressure, or tightness
- pain that may spread to arms, neck, jaw, or back
- nausea and vomiting
- sweaty or clammy skin
- heartburn or indigestion
- shortness of breath
- coughing or wheezing
- lightheadedness or dizziness
- anxiety that can feel similar to a panic attack
If someone has these symptoms:
- Dial 911 or the number of the nearest emergency department.
- Stay with them until the emergency services arrive.
If a person stops breathing before emergency services arrive, perform manual chest compressions:
- Lock fingers together and place the base of hands in the center of the chest.
- Position shoulders over hands and lock elbows.
- Press hard and fast, at a rate of 100–120 compressions per minute, to a depth of 2 inches.
- Continue these movements until the person starts to breathe or move.
- If needed, swap over with someone else without pausing compressions.
Use an automatic external defibrillator (AED) available in many public places:
- An AED provides a shock that may restart the heart.
- Follow the instructions on the defibrillator or listen to the guided instructions.
Experts strongly recommend stopping smoking following a heart attack. Evidence suggests that quitting smoking before the age of 40 years can have up to a
The following are some of the risks relating to smoking and heart attacks or heart disease.
Inflammation has links to cardiovascular disease. Smoking increases inflammation, which may contribute to stiffening and plaque buildup in the arteries. Plaque consists of cholesterol and other substances.
When a person stops smoking, many of the markers of inflammation begin to return to baseline levels.
Increased risk of atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis occurs when the arteries
Smoking also has
Increased risk of clots
Blood clots can cause a blockage in a person’s blood vessels, resulting in a heart attack or stroke. The chemicals in cigarettes
Increased risk of diabetes
According to the
- premature death
- cardiovascular related death
- having another heart attack
Quitting smoking can help improve a person’s overall health and reduce their risk of experiencing another heart attack.
According to a
In addition to heart related benefits, some other benefits of quitting smoking
- an increase in life expectancy by up to 10 years
- a reduced risk of certain cancers and chronic diseases
- improved overall health and quality of life
- better health for pregnant people and their babies
- a reduced financial burden on the person who smokes and the healthcare system
- a decreased risk of secondhand smoke for family, friends, coworkers, and others
By quitting smoking early, a person may improve their overall health. However, they should consider quitting at any age to see potential benefits to their overall health.
Someone interested in quitting may find that speaking with a doctor helps them develop a successful plan to stop smoking. Alternatively, they may find useful
Quitting smoking after a heart attack has several potential benefits. It can help reduce many of the risks relating to smoking and heart disease.
By quitting, individuals can reduce their overall risk of continued cardiovascular issues, improve their quality of life, and increase life expectancy, among other benefits.
A healthcare professional can offer further advice to people who wish to quit smoking.