KEYC - Quitting Smoking Greatly Reduces Threat of Heart Disease

Quitting Smoking Greatly Reduces Threat of Heart Disease

Posted: Updated:
MANKATO, Minn. -

Smoking is one of the leading causes of heart disease. One cardiologist who says that it doesn't have to be.

When it comes to heart disease, there are modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors. Family history of heart disease and age can't be changed but things like high blood pressure, diabetes and smoking can be.
"The moment a person quits smoking their risk of having a heart attack or stroke actually starts decreasing immediately, you won't feel that but your risk of heart disease actually starts dropping immediately. The risk of lung cancer actually takes about 10 years to actually level out to as If they never smoked but you can feel the change very, very quickly," Mayo Clinic Health System cardiologist Dr. Benjamin Wong said.
The benefits of quitting smoking are immense but unfortunately it is an extremely hard habit to kick.
"Nicotine causes certain changes in your body and impacts on your brain, how it works. It actually brings about pleasure and that's why most people smoke. It makes you feel good, it makes you feel calm but unfortunately your body gets hooked on that and it's actually not the nicotine that kills you, it's the nicotine that gets you addicted its all the other stuff they mix in, the tar that actually kills you," Wong added.
So that's why quitting needs to come in two ways, mentally and physically.
"We have behavioral therapy which is working with someone to actually talk about, this is how I'm feeling, what's worked for you, what's not worked for you.  Part of the issue is your body is addicted to nicotine so we can give you the nicotine minus all the other garbage they mix into it that kills you. There's nicotine in the form of a patch, gum, lozenge, an inhaler. Your body needs nicotine, we can give you the nicotine," Wong said.

Dr. Wong says persistence pays off, so although you may have quit smoking and started again-don't give up, eventually it will work.

--KEYC News 12