Smoking And Its Relationship To Blood Pressure Biology Essay

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Cigarette smoke contains many harmful chemicals that enter the body. Two of these substances are Nicotine and Carbon Monoxide which have a very big impact on the heart and blood vessels. Nicotine makes the heart work harder when it needs more oxygen. As a result, the heart rate and blood pressure increases. This will result in the narrowing of the arteries which will make the blood flow to the heart be restricted.

Carbon monoxide on the other hand, will compete with oxygen in the red blood cells reduces the amount of oxygen carried to the heart. Carbon monoxide and nicotine damage the walls of the arteries. If carbon monoxide is in the blood, less oxygen gets to the heart. The amount of oxygen then, in the blood stream is less than what the body needs. Fatty deposits build up in the inner walls of arteries. The fatty deposits which is called plaque, makes the arteries narrow. The heart will have to work extremely harder to pump through the narrow blood vessels. This process is called the hardening of the arteries, another name is called arteriosclerosis.

The heart needs a constant supply of blood to function effectively. People who smoke have a higher risk of early death due to heart attack. However it's hard to determine whether if smoking may cause the blood pressure to increase which is really a risk factor to cardiovascular diseases. In this study, the relationship and effects of cigarette smoking on blood pressure and whether these are risk factors that can lead to cardiovascular events were investigated. The hypothesis of this study is that smoking will affect the rate of the blood pressure such that the blood pressure will increase thus increases the chance of cardiovascular events.

BLOOD PRESSURE

Our heart is a muscular pump that helps to circulate blood to various parts of the body bringing both nutrients and oxygen to tissues. With each heart beat, blood is pumped into arteries, and the resultant force upon the vessel wall is our measured blood pressure.

When the heart contracts and blood is pumped into the arteries, the maximal or peak force that results is the systolic blood pressure, and when the heart relaxes before the next contraction, the trough force is the diastolic blood pressure reading. Both reading are important in the evaluation of one's blood pressure.

Hypertension is the condition where the blood pressure is persistently elevated over two or more readings taken at least one week apart. A person with an average blood pressure of more than 120/80 mmHG may be considered to be hypertensive [1]

CATEGORIES FOR BLOOD PRESSURE LEVEL

Category

Systolic

(Top number)

Diastolic

(Bottom number)

Normal

Less than 120

Less than 80

Prehypertension

120-139

80-89

High Blood Pressure

Systolic

Diastolic

Stage 1

140-159

90-99

Stage 2

160 or higher

100 or higher

CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE

Cardiovascular disease is a general term that describes conditions caused by an interrupted or diminished blood flow through the coronary arteries to the heart muscle. The main cardiovascular diseases are heart attack, angina, stroke and peripheral vascular disease (PVD).

INTRODUCTION

There is very minimal data on the health analysis of lower income residences living in identified blocks of 2-room rental flats mostly from the senior citizens, lower or single income families currently.

METHODS

Data was collected from a community health screening exercise in collaboration with Singapore Heart Foundation (SHF) for the low income families living in 1 or 2 room flats at Geylang Bahru and French Road in Singapore respectively. A door to door basic health screening were conducted on and 27th March 2010 respectively. 343 subjects were involved in this health screening checks from both locations. Basic health screenings such as measuring blood pressure, height and weight and waist circumference were involved. There was no blood taking involved in this whole exercise. After the screenings were done, participants have to complete an interview questionnaire conducted by the volunteers. The survey includes questions like lifestyle, smoking, alcohol consumptions and medical history.

After the interview questionnaire, the results for the health screening and the questionnaires were taken into consideration for the analysis. From the questionnaires itself, the subjects were then further categorise whether they are hypertensive (>180/110), pre-hypertensive (>120/80), normal range (<120/80) based on their blood pressure from the health screening results. The sequence of the whole process is shown below.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

343 subjects were taken from the combination of these 2 locations. The subjects were distributed according to whether they are hypertensive, pre-hypertensive or within the normal range. From there, the data were divided into 5 category accordingly; Smoke daily, sometimes smoke, have stopped smoking completely, never smoke at all and unable to provide an answer. Out of the 343 subjects, 90 (26%) of them smokes daily, 19 (6%) of them sometimes smoke, 53 (15%) of them have stopped smoking completely, and 170 (50%) of them never smoke at all. The remaining 11 (3%) of them were unable to provide us with an answer hence their measurements were not taken into consideration in this study. Table 1 and figure 1 shows the distribution of their smoking status and the percentages.

Survey Question

Number Of Subjects

Smokes Daily

90

Sometimes Smoke

19

Have Stopped Smoking Completely

53

Never Smoke At All

170

Unable To Provide An Answer

11

Total = 343 Subjects (100%)

Table 1: Distribution of their smoking status

Figure 1: A pie chart showing the percentage of subjects acknowledging their smoking status during the interview questionaires session.

Survey Question

Hypertensive (>180/110) mm/HG

Prehypertensive

(>120/80)

mm/HG

Normal

(<120/80)

mm/HG

Not Applicable

Smoke Daily

44

13

49

4

Sometimes Smoke

5

7

7

0

Have Stopped Smoking

29

16

8

0

Never Smoke At All

82

36

44

8

Unable To Provide An Answer

4

5

1

1

Table 2: Distribution of smoking and status and blood pressure.

Figure 2: The pie chart above shows the distribution of subjects who smokes daily to their blood pressure rate.

Out of 90 subjects who smoke daily, 49% are found to be hypertensive, 15% are prehypertensive, 32% are normal and 4% unable to provide an answer. Those who are found to be hypertensive have their blood pressure higher than the normal range which is above 120/80 mm/hg. Those who smoke daily tends to be in the hypertensive range. This is because when they smoke, the harmful chemicals they breathe in will constrict the blood vessels the which makes the heart works even harder to deliver the oxygen to the rest of the body hence the blood pressure will drastically increased as a result of the constriction of the blood vessels. There may be a possibility that these group of people have higher chances of having cardiovascular diseases.

32% are within the normal range though they smoke daily. One of the reasons to why it may occur is that at the time of the blood pressure measurement was taken, the subject had not smoke. Once they don't smoke, there won't be any harmful chemicals entering the body thus the blood pressure will decrease to its normal level. Another reason is that the subjects may exercise regularly as exercising is one of the ways to reduce the risk of having high blood pressure.

Figure 3: The pie charts above shows the percentage of those who sometimes smoke to its blood pressure measurement.

Out of the 19 subjects, 26% were found to be hypertensive and 37% were found to be pre-hypertensive and within the normal range respectively.

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