Heart Attack Calculator: Quitting Smoking Can Save Your Life

If asthma, lung cancer, and emphysema aren’t enough to scare you off, it turns out smokers are two to four times more likely to develop coronary artery disease (CAD) than nonsmokers. Cardiovascular disease—including CAD, heart failure, and heart attack—is the leading killer in the U.S., claiming more than 860,000 lives in 2005.

Smoking ups your risk for heart disease by decreasing the flow of oxygen to the heart and raises your risk for atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Lighting up also damages the cells that line the coronary arteries and increases your likelihood of blood clots. In fact, heart-related complications are one of the main reasons cigarettes can take so much time off a smoker’s lifespan.

Smoking significantly ups your odds of having a heart attack; within a year or two of quitting, your risk decreases substantially.

Smoking significantly ups your odds of having a heart attack; within a year or two of quitting, your risk decreases substantially.

But there’s good news: Once you quit, your risk for heart disease is substantially reduced within one to two years. Smoking is the single most preventable cause of death, and putting out your butts significantly brings down your risk for heart disease.

Click here to find out how much smoking increases your heart attack risk

This interactive tool measures how smoking—independent of other risk factors—affects your chance of having a heart attack in the next 10 years. The tool calculates your risk from the values you enter. The information for this tool is based on the Framingham Heart Study. Since 1948 the Framingham Heart Study has studied the progression of heart disease and the risk factors of heart disease. The data from this study has been used to make a risk assessment. This risk assessment was created by the U.S. National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP), part of the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The values you enter include your age and gender. The tool uses a systolic blood pressure of 120 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), an HDL cholesterol measurement of 55 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), and a total cholesterol measurement of 200 mg/dL to calculate your risk based on smoking alone.

Smoking does have a negative effect on both cholesterol and blood pressure. So if you smoke and also have other risk factors for heart disease, your risk may be higher than this tool says it is.

source: www.health.com

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