Is High Cholesterol Worsened by Smoking?

by Staff

Sugar and cholesterolWe all know about the negative effects cause by smoking cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products. This activity has a direct link to many types of cancer, including lung cancer, oral cancer and even prostate cancer in men.

But many people forget that there are other risks associated with smoking, including negative effects on your blood cholesterol level.

There are two types of cholesterol in our bodies. In the simplest terms, low-density lipoproteins (LDL) are what people consider to be “bad cholesterol.”

High levels of LDL can build up in the bloodstream and become caked to the walls of a person’s arteries. This causes the arteries to become less flexible and can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

High-density lipoproteins (HDL) are “good cholesterol.” HDL is believed to carry LDL from the arteries to the liver where it can be safely expelled from our systems. Generally, the higher a person’s HDL level, the healthier they will be.

So what does smoking a few cigarettes have to do with all of this?

The chemicals in tobacco products affect the levels of both types of cholesterol. Each time you smoke, you are raising the amount of LDL present in your blood stream.

To make things worse, HDL is becoming less abundant in your body as well. As you can see, smoking is dually dangerous for our hearts. That’s why many experts put this activity in their lists of top 5 heart disease risks.

Unfortunately, most doctors do not put enough emphasis on smoking cessation for people with high cholesterol. Instead, the medical world often suggests “low cholesterol” diets that don’t work, even for non-smokers.

When these diet plans inevitably fail, blame is placed on the patient for not being diligent enough with their treatment. At this point, many are prescribed statin drugs that are not only expensive, but can also lead to serious liver damage.

It can be difficult to lower your cholesterol regardless of your age, weight and personal habits. Still, one thing is for certain: Smoking has a negative influence on blood cholesterol levels and comes with an increased risk of heart disease and strokes.

If you suffer from high blood cholesterol and use any form of tobacco products, the most important thing you can do is stop smoking as soon as possible. This will make it easier for your body to resume its natural production of HDL, and in turn clear your bloodstream of excess LDL.


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