Do whatever it takes to quit smoking if you’ve had a TIA. Smoking damages the blood vessels in the brain.
But not only that, it also causes conditions that are independent risk factors for transient ischemic attack.
Risk Factors for TIA that Smoking Causes
• Heart disease
• Poor circulation
“Smoking causes blood vessels to constrict, so if you have a cardiovascular condition where good blood flow is needed, anything that reduces that flow will likely cause a problem over time,” explains Susan L. Besser, MD, with Mercy Medical Center, Baltimore, and Diplomate American Board of Obesity Medicine and board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine.
Dr. Besser adds, “Additionally, smoking also increases blood pressure –another risk factor.”
How long do you have to have quit smoking before this actually begins lowering your risk of another TIA?
• After 20 minutes your blood pressure lowers.
• After two weeks circulation improves.
• After five to 15 years your TIA risk equals that of a nonsmoker.
• After 15 years your heart disease risk equals that of a nonsmoker.
Now you may be thinking, Geez, that’s a long time to wait, five to 15 years!
However, here are more immediate effects of quitting smoking, and though not related to a transient ischemic attack, these effects should motivate you to quit once and for all:
• After eight hours, the carbon monoxide in your blood returns to normal.
• After 24 hours, heart attack risk decreases and you’re less short of breath.
• After three days, more energy and better looking skin.
• After two weeks lung function improves.
So while you’re waiting five to 15 years for TIA (and stroke) risk to equal that of a nonsmoker, you’ll be getting all the other benefits of kicking this expensive, stinky habit.
And keep in mind that the five to 15 year mark is when TIA and stroke risk EQUAL the nonsmoker’s.
But almost immediately after quitting, your risk for another transient ischemic attack will start going down.
For help quitting your smoking habit, go here: tobaccofreelife.org
Dr. Besser provides comprehensive family care, treating common and acute primary conditions like diabetes and hypertension. Her ongoing approach allows her the opportunity to provide accurate and critical diagnoses of more complex conditions and disorders.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.