Carbon monoxide & smoking; read on before taking your next shot of nicotine!

These days a smoker would be hard pushed to not be aware of the links between smoking and lung disease/cancer, but were you aware that it's now the leading cause of preventable disease and death in Australia (AIHW 2019) with over a third of all cardiovascular deaths in Australia for people aged less than 65 being attributed to smoking? (Banks et al. 2019).

First off, here's the bad news if you're a smoker...

There are many substances all rolled up in one moment of 'pleasure' that we call cigarettes that are severely toxic for the body including benzene, arsenic and formaldehyde!

Another key substance involved in contributing to death and disability in smokers is carbon monoxide (CO), a poisonous gas found in car exhaust fumes! The reason it's so toxic to the body is that CO binds more readily to the haemoglobin on red blood cells than oxygen, thus preventing oxygen uptake and depriving the body of its much-needed oxygen fix.

CO also contributes to raising a smokers' blood pressure and causes reduced blood levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. As a smokers' artery walls start to gather a build-up of fatty deposits (plaques) by smoking, their heart has to work a lot harder against this resistance to get blood around the body without having enough oxygen to do this effectively. This is one of the key reasons why smokers will get quickly out of breath when doing anything physical.

So all in all, if you continue to be a smoker you're increasing your risk of developing coronary heart disease, damage to blood vessels, increasing risks of plaques and clots, and reduced blood oxygen levels.

And now for the awesome news! 

If you quit smoking today you will reap the benefits immediately because once you stop (like you do for an average of 7 hours a night while you're sleeping) your CO levels fall very quickly and by tomorrow your CO levels should be the same as if you'd never smoked. 

A few tell-tale signs will let you know that CO has left your body e.g., your hands and feet start to get warmer as your blood circulation improves. you'll be more productive as you're able to concentrate much better and for longer, and you'll gain a new lease of life as you find you can exercise without getting out of breath. 

Making the commitment to be a non-smoker today will mean that in 5 years you can congratulate yourself because you’ve reduced your risk of having a heart attack by 50%!

And, by your 10th anniversary of being a non-smoker, you can celebrate your risk of lung cancer falling by 50% and your risk of having a heart attack falling to the levels of someone who has never smoked! 


Ready to make that commitment; let's chat: 

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