(HealthDay News) -- Smoking can lead to cell and tissue damage throughout your body, and experts say your heart isn't spared.
The U.S. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute says smoking can:
- Decrease the blood's ability to carry oxygen.
- Force the heart to work harder by raising blood pressure and heart rate.
- Raise triglycerides (fat) and bad cholesterol, while lowering good cholesterol.
- Affect the heart's normal rhythm.
- Narrow blood vessel walls.
- Increase inflammation, which can lead to increased plaque buildup in blood vessels.