How much heart and lungs do you need to recover from smoking?
Ex-smokers have to wait 15 years to quit smoking to return the risk of heart disease and stroke to a normal level, a new study has shown.
Some previous studies have shown that the risk of heart attack stabilizes about five years after cigarette smoking, but a new study suggests that it takes three times as long.
After analyzing data on 8,700 people for 50 years, Vanderbilt researchers found that it takes more than a decade to remove the damage to the heart from nicotine and various other chemicals in cigarettes.
The heart and blood vessels recover faster from cigarette damage, explains study author Meredith Duncan. But with the lungs there is a completely different story, that is, they need to be recovered for longer.
Cardiovascular diseases are the number one killer in every country in the world, and one of the main contributing factors are cigarettes. Maybe that's why more and more people decide to quit smoking, and while that's great, that does not mean their health will improve immediately.
"There is a lack of information about what actually happens to people who have smoked for a long time," says author Duncan.
To investigate this, they took data from a study that began in 1948 and lasted until 1975, in which two generations of people participated and nearly half of them were smokers.
As heavy smokers, they rated people who smoked at least one pack per day for 20 years, and about 70 percent of them had a heart attack during the study.
After five years, those who stopped breathing had a 38% lower risk of infarction than those who continued to smoke.
But it took 16 years after quitting smoking to return ex-smokers' cardiovascular health to the health status of nonsmokers.
"For people who have been smoking for a long time, there may be changes in the heart and lungs that can not return completely to normal," says Duncan. "What is important to remember is that the risk of heart attack and other forms of cardiovascular disease is certainly decreasing after cessation of smoking, and this is the main finding of this study."
In fact, it has been proven that some of the good effects of smoking cessation are felt in the body almost immediately.
Just 20 minutes after the last cigarette has been turned off, the heart rate and blood vessel pressure return to normal.
About 12 hours later, the level of carbon monoxide drops to a level so small that it is almost impossible to detect it in the body.
A week later, the risk of heart attack is much lower, as the heart and blood vessels are no longer exposed to chemicals that can cause blood clots.
However, the risk of heart disease remains, but for this reason all good effects of smoking cessation should not be underestimated.