Writer: Give your heart a holiday gift: Quit smoking

Writer: Give your heart a holiday gift: Quit smoking

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Friday, Feb. 14 is Valentine’s Day. One of the keys to a good Valentine’s Day is a healthy heart. One of the best ways to keep your heart healthy is to quit smoking, or never start in the first place.

Did you know that one in three deaths in women are from cardiovascular disease and stroke? Did you also know that smoking is a major cause of cardiovascular disease?

Smoking has been shown to raise triglycerides, lower “good” cholesterol, make your blood sticky and more likely to clot which can block blood flow to the heart and brain, damage cells that line the blood vessels, increase the buildup of plaque in the blood vessels and cause thickening and narrowing of blood vessels just to name a few.

If you choose to smoke, it’s not just effecting you. Secondhand smoke causes nearly 34,000 early deaths from coronary heart disease each year in the United States among nonsmokers. Nonsmokers who breathe secondhand smoke at home or at work increase their risk for stroke by 20−30%.

The good news is that quitting smoking can greatly reduce these risks. Give your heart a Valentine’s Day to remember by calling the Wisconsin Tobacco QUIT line for free help at 1-800-QUIT NOW. You can also get more information by emailing krw@hopecouncil.org

Joyce Erickson

Kenosha

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