what are the effects on cholesterol

Usually, we tend to associate smoking with the onset of cancer or lung disease, but to be honest, the damage smoking does to our health is far greater and cholesterol can be affected as well.

Cigarettes (Pixabay)

Smoking is really bad vice and for some people quitting smoking is really hard. Think about the effects negative that this addiction can have on the body, perhaps it can help even the avid smoker to fight the desire to light the next cigarette.

In fact, smoking is not only the leading cause of lung disease, but it can increase the risk of stroke, heart disease, and other heart problems.

The risk increases because cigarette smoke contains chemicals that can damage blood vessels and at the same time increase the cholesterol. This is why smoking can affect cholesterol levels. Let’s try to better understand how.

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Relationship between tobacco and cholesterol: the damage is considerable

cholesterol damage from smoking
Man Who Doesn’t Smoke vs. Man Who Smokes (Pixabay)

Cholesterol is a waxy substance produced naturally by the liver to perform various functions: building cells, digesting food and producing hormones. In addition to the one produced by our body, we can accumulate excess cholesterol with the consumption of certain foods that contain it. Genes can also influence cholesterol levels.

Remember that cholesterol “travels” in the blood thanks to two types of lipoproteins. the low density lipoproteins (LDL), also called “bad cholesterol”, and high density lipoproteins (HDL), also called “good cholesterol”. The former transport cholesterol from the liver to the cells of the body. The latter eliminate the former by transporting them from the tissues to the liver. DLDs (which according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) should be at a level of 100 mg/dL) are called bad cholesterol because they can lead to narrowing of the arteries as a result of the buildup of a substance called plaque. This can lead to heart attack, peripheral arterial disease, or stroke.

HDL, on the other handthey can remove LDL by transporting it to the liver where it will be excreted from the body. A healthy HDL level is above 40 mg/dL for men and 50 mg/dL for women. In total, the sum of LDL and HDL must be less than 200mg/dL. But let’s try to understand how smoking can influence cholesterol level. A To research identified a compound called acrolein in cigarette smoke. This substance prevents HDL in the blood from transporting LDL from the arteries to the liver. As a result, not only does smoking increase bad cholesterol, it also impairs the ability of good cholesterol to reverse LDL damage. Smoking is also able to lower the level of good cholesterol and increase triglyceride levels.

Unfortunately, according to some studies, the negative effects on cholesterol are found not only in adult smokers but also in young people. We must not forget that passive smoking is also harmful to our health, increasing the appearance of certain risks, especially for the blood vessels and the heart.

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Now that we have seen how much this bad habit can cost us in terms of health, it can be useful to resort to certain therapies to stop, which today are numerous and really effective.

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