Smoking cessation reduces the risk of heart attack even in old age

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Study: giving up smoking also lowers the risk of heart attack in old age

Many people think, "I'm too old to stop, now it's no longer worth it". However, a current study by the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) showed that stopping smoking at the age of 60 can double the risk of a heart attack. Those who are 60 years old and smoke regularly have a risk of developing cardiovascular diseases like a 79 year old.

Double the risk of cardiovascular diseases Whoever smokes for the rest of his life is 50 percent more likely to die. "It is never too late to quit smoking," could be the main message from the results of a recent study by the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ). Anyone who stops smoking even in old age can massively reduce the risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke in a short time. To confirm this statement, the DKFZ scientists evaluated the data of a total of 8807 men and women from Saarland. At the beginning of the study, all subjects belonged to the age group of 50 to 74 year olds. We found that smokers are more than twice as likely to have cardiovascular diseases as non-smokers, ”said project manager Hermann Brenner in a message from the Cancer Research Center. In order to illustrate the effects, Brenner called the following comparison. "For example, a 60-year-old smoker has a heart attack risk like a 79-year-old non-smoker". The risk of stroke in a 60-year-old smoker is the same as in a 69-year-old non-smoker.

Last year, Hermann Brenner and colleagues had been studying how smoking can affect the overall mortality of people over the age of 60. For this purpose, the researchers evaluated a meta-analysis from data from an international study without German participation. In the present study, they analyzed the health care history of people who had not yet had an infarction or stroke. The impact of other factors such as age, gender, alcohol consumption, education and sport as well as blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol levels, height and weight were taken into account by the scientists in the evaluations.

The risk of death decreases after a few years
If older people stop smoking, the risk of premature death is permanently increased many times over compared to lifelong non-smokers. However, the risk of death is significantly lower compared to active smokers. The death rate of ex-smokers is only increased by 34 percent compared to permanent non-smokers. “The death rate among those over 60 is increased by 54 percent, those between 70 and 79 by 36 percent and at least only 27 percent among those over 80. A smoker of two dies of smoke. "

After a short time, smoke escaping shows positive effects. The researchers were able to determine that, compared to subjects who continued to smoke, the risk of stroke and infarction decreased by more than 40 percent in the first five years after the last inhaled glow stick.

"Compared to people who continue to smoke, the risk of a heart attack and stroke is more than 40 percent lower within the first five years after the last cigarette," emphasizes Carolin Gellert, the study's first author. The results clearly show that smoking cessation programs should not only be designed for young people, but also for older people.

Smoking ban shows first positive effects
The regular ban on smoking in restaurants and public buildings is also showing initial effects. According to the research center, a significant decrease in heart attacks was observed. Just one year after the implementation of the non-smoking protection laws in 2007 and 2008, emergency hospital admissions due to heart attacks fell by 8.6 percent, as a 2012 study by the Kiel Institute for Therapy and Health Research showed. The researchers determined the data on the basis of an evaluation of patient data from the approximately 3.7 million health insured persons of the German employee health insurance (DAK).

In other words, the non-smoking protection laws prevented around 35,000 cardiovascular events and thus probably saved many lives. The health insurance companies were also able to save millions. According to the study, the health insurance companies saved around 150 million euros by saving on clinic therapies. (sb)

Read on:
Smoking cessation extends life for 80 year olds
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Women more susceptible to smoking lungs
With hypnosis to a non-smoker
Smoking weakens cancer protection genes
Reduced anxiety with nicotine withdrawal
Destroyed lung tissue curable in the future?
Free radicals also block cancer growth
Smoking is the main cause of COPD

Image: Gerd Altmann /

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