How does smoking affect my risk for high cholesterol?

Smoking reduces HDL - the good cholesterol. It also damages your arteries, which puts you at greater risk for plaque that can clog your arteries. Smoking also increases your risk for blood clots, which can block arteries. If you smoke or if you're frequently exposed to other people's tobacco smoke, you're at greater risk for having a heart attack or stroke. If you have had chest pain or a previous heart attack or stroke, you're at even greater risk.

How to Reduce Your Risk

Take these actions to have a healthier heart.

  • Stop smoking. You can get help from your healthcare team or your local chapter of the American Lung Association.
  • Don't let people smoke in your home or car.
  • If you're exposed to tobacco smoke at work, talk with your employer about making your workplace smoke free.
  • See your doctor for a complete assessment of your health.
  • If you don't know your blood cholesterol level, have it tested.

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