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Smoking And Heart Disease Essay

1110 words - 5 pages

Imagine having such intense indescribable pain that is radiating through the chest area towards the arms, neck, and jaws that causes a black out. Now imagine waking up in a cold, stark white hospital room, machines hooked up everywhere making strange noises, and a Doctor speaking what sounds like a foreign language with their list of big words that include Myocardial Infarction, and angioplasty to name a few. Then the three most unnerving words come out of the Doctor’s mouth that would terrify even the most harden criminal, ‘the widow maker.’ After going over medical history after medical history, the determining factor for ‘the widow maker’ is cigarette smoking. Those that survive these heart attacks should count themselves extremely lucky. It is estimated that out of every five deaths in the United States, one will be caused by cigarette smoking (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institue). Research has shown, that smoking cigarettes increases heart attacks because of the effects of the chemicals in the blood stream.
Roughly the size of a fist, the heart’s main purpose is to pump blood throughout the body for nourishment. The blood that flows into the heart through the two atriums of the heart and the two ventricles of the heart. Blood flows into the heart from the superior and inferior vena cava. It then flows down into the right atrium up into the pulmonary trunk which divides into the right and left pulmonary trunks. These trunks travel into the respective lungs to pick up oxygen. From the lungs, blood flows into the heart from the pulmonary veins into the left atrium. From here, blood travels up into the aorta where it is then dispersed throughout the body (Gerard J. Tortora). In-between each ventricle and atrium are valves that open and close to force the blood in one direction, all four chambers of the heart work together to insure blood flows in one constant direction with the help of tricuspid valves. (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institue).
The most important chemical in cigarettes, is nicotine. Nicotine directly acts upon the brain, and is termed a psychoactive drug. When smoking, nicotine can be injected into the blood stream from the lungs and results in a rapid effect (Kligfield MD and Seaton). The physical effects of smoking cause neurotransmitters to release two chemicals, norepinephrine which gives the user a more alert feeling, and dopamine, which gives the user a relaxed and laid back feeling. Although smoking gives the user a more alert and relaxed feeling, within the heart and blood vessels, nicotine has the opposite effects. One effect is that nicotine increases the rate at which the heart pumps blood throughout the body, which increase blood pressure, a precursor for heart attacks. When heart rate increases, the body needs more oxygen but nicotine diminishes the supply so the heart beats even faster to make up this deficit. This is because with each puff off a cigarette, carbon monoxide will...

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