People Could Add 5 Years Of Healthy Life With The Help Of Smoking Cessation, Health Experts Find
Admittedly, smokers experience difficulty in kicking the deadly habit. They only do so when they suffer from a heart attack or have gone through bypass surgery. They go on at least 3 different medications for this, which could be pricey. So, why not extend life by just quitting? Scientists say this could be just as helpful.
To see just how effective smoking cessation is, researchers set out to examine data on 989 current smokers who were 45 years and older, who had suffered from a heart attack, had bypass surgery, or have gone through a procedure to implant a stent.
The Details of the Study
Smokers who had to give up smoking after suffering a heart attack, bypass surgery, or procedures that help unclog blocked arteries may increase their life to as many as five healthy years. This was what the findings of the new study suggest.
“The benefits of smoking cessation are even greater than we realized,” said Tinka van Trier, MD, PhD. She is an author of the study and a cardiologist at Amsterdam University Medical Centre in the Netherlands. In order to establish the proper findings in a study, the researchers looked into data on 989 current smokers age 45 and older. All of them had a heart attack, have gone through bypass surgery, or had a procedure to implant a stent six months before. A stent is a tiny wire mesh cage designed to help keep blood flowing through the heart’s arteries.
These patients were then treated with three of the common medications that help prevent heart attacks and strokes in those who have a history of heart disease. These are statins to lower cholesterol, blood thinners, and drugs to bring down blood pressure. The researchers then made use of a mathematical model that had been built on a wide range of risk factors for heart disease. This model would be able to calculate how many healthy years (events free of a heart attack or stroke) they could add if they would be able to successfully stop smoking. Moreover, the researchers also calculated how many additional healthy years of life they can get back from taking three extra meds that are able to prevent cardiovascular disease: colchicine, an anti-inflammatory therapy, and two medicines to lower “bad” LDL cholesterol.
The findings were then recorded and they were able to conclude that smoking cessation tactics would help extend their life for 4.81 years more. Or, they would be able to live up to 4.83 years more if they didn’t kick the habit but managed to religiously take the three extra meds prescribed by their doctor.
“This indicates that smoking cessation is a very important step toward adding healthy years to one’s lifetime,” Dr. Van Trier had said in a statement. It’s also important to note that these calculations didn’t take into consideration the many benefits that come with smoking cessation. For instance, stopping the habit can prevent respiratory illnesses or cancer, Van Trier added.
The results of the study were presented at ESC Preventive Cardiology 2022. This is an online scientific meeting of the European Society of Cardiology. It also must be noted that the independent scientists were not asked to review the validity of the findings, which typically takes place when these have been published in medical journals.
Smoking cessation comes with a variety of benefits, many of which can be elaborated by many health professionals. Still, the researchers believe that risk calculators doctors oftentimes resort to when they advise patients on the advantages of quitting may underestimate the benefits of it. Why? It’s because there are so many effective medications that help attack other risk factors of heart disease. These medicines prevent high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol, as they have stated.
“Due to the increasing number of beneficial pharmacological interventions available, the substantial health benefit of smoking cessation may be overlooked,” researchers said in the materials they presented during the well-known the medical meeting. However, one thing is for sure, it’s better to stop smoking altogether than having to resort to meds that assist in health. As they always harp about in the medical field, prevention is always better than the cure.