Now playing: Quitting smoking

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Quitting smoking

Smoking raises your blood pressure, which means there is more force on your arteries as the blood is flowing through your body. It also increases your risk of Coronary Artery Disease -- which is when cholesterol plaque builds up inside your arteries. Cigarettes increase your risk for blood clots in your arteries. When a clot prevents your blood from reaching your heart, you can have a heart attack. Since cigarettes damage your lungs, smokers have a hard time catching their breath. This means they usually find it difficult to get the exercise your body needs. Smoking also decreases the amount of HDL cholesterol in your bloodstream. It's this "good" cholesterol that helps to dispose of the bad LDL cholesterol. If you're a smoker, talk to your doctor about it -- and make a plan to quit.

Last modified: 2012-03-06