Quitting Smoking Causes Quick Drop in Inflammation
Just weeks after quitting smoking, women show major reductions in several markers of inflammation associated with heart disease risk, new research shows.
The findings point the way to a strategy for encouraging people at risk of heart disease to kick the habit, the study's authors say.
Smoking is known to promote inflammation, while quitting cuts the risk of developing and dying from heart and lung disease, Dr. Christine N. Metz of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, N.Y, and her colleagues write in the medical journal Chest. However, it's unknown whether benefits are seen immediately after a person quits.
To investigate, they performed blood tests for several markers of inflammation, including C-reactive protein (CRP), tumor necrosis factor (TNF), and other substances, in 36 women participating in a smoking-cessation program. The women were tested four times over six to seven weeks.
Levels of TNF and two related substances fell steadily through the course of the study, the researchers found. Levels of CRP and interleukin-6 also fell.
Informing people about the "age and health" of their lungs is known to help encourage them to quit smoking, Metz's team note, and using markers of inflammation like those in the study could provide similar information on cardiovascular health.
"Quantifiable information reflecting cardiovascular health may act as positive reinforcement for those trying to quit and remain smoke free," they add.
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