Article courtesy of Measure Up/Pressure Down®
If you smoke, you'll need to kick the addiction to lower your blood pressure. If not, it can lead to a heart attack or stroke. And stroke is one of the leading causes of death in America.
There are many aids available to help you stop, from the Quitline to support groups to prescriptions from your health care provider.
And don't think you can switch to another form of tobacco or nicotine. All forms can be harmful and need to be eliminated.
- Every cigarette, cigar or chew raises your blood pressure—and keeps it high for up to an hour afterward.
- The chemicals in tobacco damage artery walls, making them narrower and causing your heart to work harder.
- Secondhand smoke can raise your friends' and family's blood pressure, too.
Quick Tips to Quit
Here are three tips to help you quit:
- Call the Quitline. It's an easy number to remember: 1-800-QUITNOW. Quitlines throughout North America are ready with free help—and it's a free call.
- Try quitting with a buddy. Make a bet, set daily or weekly phone calls with one another and reach out when cravings strike.
- Check out Million Hearts. This U.S. government program, which fights heart disease and stroke, offers links to help you get tobacco out of your life.
If you haven't quit yet, remember not to smoke for at least 30 minutes before you take a blood pressure reading.
Measure Up/Pressure Down® is a three-year national campaign created by the American Medical Group Foundation to improve blood pressure control. Learn how to lower your risk and manage the disease with our Circulation Nation: Your Roadmap to Managing High Blood Pressure patient booklet.