Why Heart Patients Should Kick Butts. Part 1

It seems so obvious: Quit smoking to improve your health. But smokers just aren’t getting the hint, even those for whom kicking the habit means life or death.

“At least one year after coronary bypass surgery, each person in our study was asked about their smoking habits,” said Ron van Domburg, M.D., from the Dijkzigt Hospital Rotterdam in the Netherlands, who studied 1,000 bypass patients for more than 20 years. His study appeared in the September 2000 issue of Journal of the American College of Cardiology. “At the time of operation 53 percent were smoking. Of these smokers, 43 percent successfully stopped smoking, whereas 57 percent continued to smoke.”

If you don’t know that smoking is part of the reason why you had a heart attack in the first place, then sit up and pay attention: Cigarette smoking is one of the known major risk factors of heart disease.

Quitting means an improved quality of life. So much so that van Domburg found that people who successfully quit smoking after bypass surgery had a 44 percent lower risk of dying than patients who continued to smoke after the operation. Now that’s quality of life.

Staying Alive
“For the first time in history our results indicate that, after coronary bypass surgery, patients who quit smoking have a markedly higher probability of staying alive as compared to those who don?t stop smoking,” van Domburg said.

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