Smoking tobacco has been around for centuries, and although it may be a good way to relax or to blend in with the crowd, it is also a killer. It is reported than around 5.4 million people die every year as a result of smoking, and when you consider the effects it has on your cholesterol profile, this legal drug should not be taken lightly.
Smoking affects your health in many ways, not just by raising your cholesterol levels. So whether you suffer from high cholesterol levels or not, it is a good idea to pack it in before it is too late. Heart disease, cancer and tooth loss are just a few of the major side effects of smoking tobacco. Thankfully, with the number of smokers slowly decreasing, these effects are starting to become much less of a problem, but the scale of deaths and critically ill patients it still causes is far from small.
In terms of the effect which smoking has on your cholesterol levels, there has been several studies to help back this statement up: Smoking has been scientifically proven to lower the amount of HDL (good cholesterol) in your bloodstream, and increase the level of LDL (bad cholesterol).
One study, created and performed by the University of Wisconsin, set out to find the effects of quitting smoking, on an individual’s cholesterol levels. With 334 participants, all quitting within 1 year, the study helped conclude exactly what the above statement says. The results showed that the average participant experienced around 5% higher levels of HDL, while ultimately lowering the amount of LDL at the same time. Although a side effect of quitting smoking is a small gain in weight, the benefits certainly outweigh the costs. With the average participant gaining around 10 pounds of weight, surely it is worth it? The reason for the small gain in weight is due to the increased appetite which results when quitting smoking. Tobacco is a natural appetite suppressant, but with a little will power and belief, you’re eating habits can continue to be the same.
Although the reason for this drop in cholesterol levels has not been scientifically proven, it is suggested that it is caused by the proteins which help break down cholesterol. The proteins which breakdown and eliminate the cholesterol in our bloodstream is reduced when we smoke, so quitting helps regulate this protein, bringing it back to its full capability, leading to more cholesterol being broken down and removed from our bodies.
Taking the step to quit smoking will be hard, but if you persist and remind yourself of the countless health benefits, you will be sure to get there. Both your lungs, and your cholesterol levels will be better off, so what are you waiting for?