Q:

Can smoking tobacco have an effect on your blood pressure measurement?

A:

Quick Answer

A person's blood pressure and heart rate rise while he is smoking tobacco. Blood pressure typically remains higher for a few minutes after smoking. It is unknown whether smoking tobacco causes long-term high blood pressure, as of February 2015.

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Full Answer

The chemical nicotine, which is found in tobacco, is primarily responsible for the temporary increase in blood pressure. Some evidence suggests that long-term smokers have lower blood pressure on average than nonsmokers. However, this lower blood pressure is attributed to nicotine's role as an appetite suppressant, which causes weight loss. This weight loss leads to lower blood pressure.

Smoking can cause cardiovascular problems and other health issues. One of the major cardiovascular diseases smoking causes is atherosclerosis, which is when fatty substances build up and clog a person's arteries. This can lead to coronary heart disease and heart attacks. Smoking can also cause several types of cancer. Second hand smoke also increases the likelihood of many diseases.

Quitting smoking can be difficult because of the nicotine withdrawal. This can cause irritability, headaches, hunger, a cough, difficulty concentrating and nicotine cravings. The withdrawal symptoms tend to last between 10 and 14 days, and are at their strongest at the beginning of the quitting process.

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