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How does smoking contribute to hypertension and its complications?

Smoking is a significant risk factor for hypertension and its related complications. The harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke can damage blood vessels and lead to several physiological changes that contribute to elevated blood pressure.


Physiological Changes Due to Smoking:


1. Vasoconstriction: Smoking causes blood vessels to constrict or narrow, which increases resistance to blood flow and raises blood pressure.


2. Increased Heart Rate: Smoking can elevate heart rate, putting additional stress on the heart and circulatory system.

3. Atherosclerosis: Smoking promotes the development of atherosclerosis, a condition where fatty deposits (plaques) build up inside the arteries, narrowing and hardening them. Atherosclerosis restricts blood flow and can further raise blood pressure.

4. Endothelial Dysfunction: Smoking damages the endothelium, the inner lining of blood vessels, impairing its ability to regulate blood flow and promote vasodilation.


5. Oxidative Stress and Inflammation: Smoking generates harmful free radicals in the body, leading to oxidative stress and inflammation, which can damage blood vessel walls and promote hypertension.


The combination of these effects increases the risk of hypertension, and if left uncontrolled, smoking can further worsen existing hypertension and contribute to various cardiovascular complications, such as heart attack, stroke, and peripheral artery disease.

References:

  1. American Heart Association. (2021). Smoking, High Blood Pressure and Your Health. Retrieved from: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/changes-you-can-make-to-manage-high-blood-pressure/smoking-high-blood-pressure-and-your-health

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