Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can smoking cigarettes cause a heart arrhythmia?"
I have been dealing with this problem for a few years now. Now that I think about it, my heart arrhythmia started around the time that I started smoking. Is there a connection?
This is a great question to discuss with your cardiologist. In general, cigarettes smoking cannot cause an arrhythmia, it can exacerbate (or make worse) an existing arrhythmia. Most arrhythmias occur because of abnormal connections in the heart's cellular electrical system. There are many different types of the arrhythmias. Most of them are due to abnormal electrical signals coming from the top of the heart called the atria. Cigarette smoking causes an increase in the release of catecholamines such as epinephrine and norepinephrine (known also as adrenaline). These hormones increase the excitability of the heart cells and make arrythmias more likely to surface. Smoking also increases your blood pressure which can lead to more heat disease which also is associated with heart arrhythmias. It is for these reasons that I urge (or more accurately beg) my patients with any type of arrhythmia to quit smoking for good. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your cardiologist. You can discuss your heart arrhythmia and how it might be exacerbated by cigarette smoking. You should also discuss how you might be able to start the process of quitting smoking. Regardless of smoking's effects on your arrhythmia, quitting will be the best thing that you can do for your overall health. Good luck.
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