Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Stomp Out Those Butts

In celebrating the overall theme of my blog, Heart Health, I would like to congratulate a good friend of mine for quitting smoking. He has been a pack-a-day smoke since he was 18 (he's 28 now) and honestly believed he would never be able to kick the habit.

We all know that smoking kills. You hear it time and time again but for many people, it just doesn't sink in. My friend has long recognized the fact that smoking was very bad for his health but had never really made the effort to quit. Almost everybody I know that smoked has said quitting is the hardest thing they have ever done. Yet, it has also been the most positive.

There are many methods for quitting. Some go cold turkey, others prefer to pick a day and stop then. Many use cessation methods such as the patch, the gum, the inhaler pr prescription drugs. Each method is different and the individual must find what works best for them. There is no tried and true method.

Whatever method you choose, make the decision to stop. Your heart will certainly thank you.

According to the American Cancer Society:
20 minutes after quitting: Your heart rate and blood pressure drops
12 hours after quitting: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
2 weeks to 3 months after quitting: Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
1 to 9 months after quitting: Coughing and shortness of breath decrease; cilia (tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.
1 year after quitting: The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker's.
5 years after quitting: Your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker 5 to 15 years after quitting.
10 years after quitting: The lung cancer death rate is about half that of a continuing smoker's. The risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix, and pancreas decrease.
15 years after quitting: The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker's.

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