How much heart and lungs do you need to recover from smoking?
Former smokers have to wait 15 years to stop smoking to restore the risk of heart disease and stroke to a normal level, according to a new study.
Some early studies have shown that the risk of heart attack stabilizes for about five years after the cigarette has left, but a new study suggests that it takes three times more time.
After analyzing data from 8,700 people over 50 years, Vanderbilt researchers found that more than a decade is needed to remove the heart damage caused by nicotine and various other chemicals in cigarettes.
Heart and blood vessels recover faster than cigarette-induced injuries, explains author of Meredith Duncan's study. But with the lungs there is a completely different story, ie they need to recover longer.
Cardiovascular diseases are the number one killer in all countries of the world, and one of the major factors contributing to cigarettes. Maybe that's why more and more people choose to quit smoking, and even though it's great, it does not mean that their health will be better right away.
"There is a lack of information on what actually happens to people who smoke longer," says Duncan.
To investigate this, they took data from a study that began in 1948 and lasted until 1975, with two generations of people involved, and nearly half of them smokers.
As heavy smokers, they categorized people who smoked at least one packet daily for 20 years, and about 70 percent of them had heart attacks during the study.
After five years, those who stopped breathing recorded 38 percent lower risk of stroke than those who continued to smoke.
But it took 16 years after stopping smoking to restore the exhaled smoking's cardiovascular health to the non-smoking health level.
"For people who have been heavy smokers for a long time, changes in the heart and lungs that can not fully return to normal can occur," says Duncan. "It's important to remember that the risk of heart attack and other forms of cardiovascular disease certainly decreases after the smoking cessation, and this is the main discovery of this study."
Indeed, it has been proven that some of the good effects of smoking cessation are almost immediately felt in the body.
Just 20 minutes after the last cigarette was switched off, heart rate and blood pressure returned to normal.
About 12 hours later, the level of carbon monoxide falls to a level so small that it is almost impossible to detect in the body.
A week later, the risk of stroke is already considerably lower because 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 the good effects of smoking cessation should not be underestimated.