(HealthDay News) -- Smokers may love the habit, but tobacco
smoke doesn't love the heart.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says smoking
can harm the heart in many ways, including:
- Causing thickened blood, making it more difficult for the blood
to transport oxygen throughout the body.
- Increasing blood pressure and heart rate, forcing the heart to
- Lowering HDL ("good") cholesterol and raising LDL ("bad")
cholesterol and triglycerides.
- Causing abnormal heart rhythms and an increase in inflammation,
which may cause a build-up of arterial plaque.
- Causing hardening of the artery walls, which can cause
narrowing and make it more difficult for the heart to pump
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