Why does smoking cause a rise in blood pressure
Firstly it is important to remember that smoking does not cause high blood pressure (hypertension). However, smoking will cause a temporary rise in blood pressure that will decrease once the chemicals from smoking are removed returning to normal levels. This is why if you have high blood pressure your doctor will recommend you stop smoking to avoid long term problems from this as it may just be your smoking that is causing it especially if you smoke a lot.
Smoking causes the blood vessels in the body to constrict (narrow) which makes it much more difficult for your heart to pump blood around your body. Your heart will then have to work twice as hard to get the blood around your body properly and your blood pressure will increase. This is highly dangerous for the smoker as it dramatically increases the risk of heart disease, heart attack and strokes. Imagine a garden hose with the nozzle almost closed but the water pressure is very high, eventually something will give.
It’s never too late to give up smoking, once you quit your risk of a heart attack is reduced significantly after only the first year. It is also very important for women who use birth control pills to quit smoking. This is because it can greatly increase the risk of blood clots alongside high blood pressure when you smoke and take birth control pills at the same time.
The effects of smoking on the heart and circulation are immediate and caused by the nicotine which acts on the nervous system both increasing your heart rate and constricting blood vessels. This puts a massive strain on the heart and increases blood pressure. In addition to this carbon monoxide passed into our bodies through smoking depletes our oxygen supply making it even more difficult for our heart to get enough oxygen to our body tissues through the blood.
Smoking can also affect the blood in the long term by increasing cholesterol levels and fibrinogen levels. These two affects can cause blood clots and significantly increase the risk of a heart attack as well as put further additional strain on the heart in general. Additionally this also increases blood pressure and causes an inflammation of the blood vessels as “plaque” from smoking is built up on the lining of the blood vessels.
Essentially nearly everything smoking causes results in your heart having to work much harder to get enough oxygen to your body tissues. Smoking puts a massive strain on your heart and body by depleting the oxygen supply, constricting blood vessels, increasing your heart rate, clotting the blood, inflaming blood vessels and narrowing blood vessels.
Smoking also causes many other harmful problems and diseases for the smoker and doctors highly recommend against smoking particularly if you have suffered from heart attacks, strokes or other smoking related diseases in the past. If you have high blood pressure, you should seriously consider quitting smoking as this will dramatically reduce your blood pressure as well as potentially eliminate it for some people.