Even if you didn't already know that smoking cigarettes increases the risk of death by heart attack, it probably wasn't a shock to find out. But it might surprise you to learn that, according to the American Heart Association, smokers are two to three times more likely die from heart disease than non-smokers. Of the nearly half-million smoking-related deaths each year, almost a third are due to cardiovascular disease.
But the good news is there's hope! As soon as you quit smoking, your heart says a big thank you and your risk gradually declines. Within just a few years, your risk of stroke and heart disease matches that of a non-smoker. There are as many ways to go about quitting as there are former smokers, including nicotine gum and patches, prescription medications, support groups and that old stand-by, quitting cold turkey.
Sure, you'll be cranky for a while. But what's a few weeks of cranky behavior compared to a few years added to your lifespan?
Smoking can also affect another risk factor: birth control. Keep reading to find out more.