(HealthDay News) -- Smoking is harmful to nearly every part of the body, but it's particularly dangerous for the heart.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says smoking:
- Damages blood cells, blood vessels and affects heart function.
- Increases the risk of atherosclerosis, in which plaque build-up causes narrowing of the blood vessels and increases the risk of coronary disease. Coronary disease increases the risk of heart attack, irregular heartbeat and heart failure.
- Increases the risk of peripheral artery disease, which can lead to heart attack, heart disease and stroke.