Give your heart a hand

Blog Post created by NDC_Team on Sep 23, 2020

Next Tuesday, September 29 is International Heart Day.   Everyone in the EX community should know that you are an important participant in this celebration of the heart.  The World Heart Federation encourages everyone to participate in International Heart Day by 1. understanding what it takes, and changing behavior, to have a healthy heart. 2. Be an example and positive influence for others to have a healthy heart, and 3. act to support others who are vulnerable to cardiovascular disease.   Each of these activities are taking place every day on this community.


Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world, and tobacco use is the biggest single preventable cause of cardiovascular disease.  Tobacco caused heart disease takes almost 2 million lives worldwide each year.  Different compounds in cigarette smoke affect almost every factor in the development of cardiovascular disease.  Compounds in smoke reduce the elasticity of the arteries. Others causes damage inside the artery wall making the arteries more susceptible to blockage. Different compounds in cigarette smoke lower ‘good’ cholesterol, and make plaquing more likely.  Carbon monoxide reduces the oxygenation of red blood cells.  Cigarette smoke is a ‘perfect storm’ for peripheral artery disease, coronary artery disease, heart attack, and sudden death.  And unfortunately smoking only 1 or 2 cigarettes per day, or exposure to second hand smoke, will increase the risk for cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and sudden death from heart attack.


On the other hand, stopping smoking almost immediately begins to provide a benefit to cardiovascular functioning.  Within hours of stopping smoking carbon monoxide leaves the system and no longer reduces oxygen levels in red-blood cells. Within weeks risk of heart attack decreases, and after a relatively short period of time heart attack risk can return to that of someone who never smoked.


I wonder how many hearts EX has helped, how many lives have been saved.  Each of you, by stopping smoking yourself, by being an example, and by supporting others are actively saving lives.  Take a moment to appreciate the awesome impact you are having by being part of this community.


Michael V. Burke, Ed.D

Program Director and NDC Counselor/ CTTS