Why Smoking Increases Heart Disease Risk

by Jodee on August 10, 2009

You have probably heard that lighting up a cigarette increases your risk of cancer, but do you know why smoking and heart disease are related?

Researchers at Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles and Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona may have found the answer to that question. The results of a recent study have shown that the nicotine in cigarettes leads to insulin resistance, a pre-diabetic condition that increases blood sugar levels to a higher-than-normal level.

Diabetes is one of the known risk factors for heart disease, and smokers are more likely to have this chronic condition. The researchers found that the mice involved in the study who had pre-diabetes were more likely to have high levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that increases blood pressure and blood sugar. High blood pressure also puts you at risk for heart problems.

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