Quitting smoking extends lives in survivors Stubbing after heart attack helps

NEW YORK, Jan 3, (RTRS): Confirming that it really is never too late to quit smoking, a new study finds that heart attack survivors who kick the habit live longer than those who keep puffing away.
The study, which followed more than 1,500 heart attack survivors for 13 years, also found a survival advantage for smokers who did not quit but managed to cut down on cigarettes.
Israeli researchers found that compared with first-time heart attack sufferers who continued to smoke, those who quit were 37 percent less likely to die during the study period. That was close to the risk reduction seen among heart attack survivors who had never smoked — who had a 43 percent lower risk of dying during the study than persistent smokers.
Meanwhile, patients who had quit smoking sometime before their heart attack were half as likely to die during the study period as smokers who kept up the habit.
The findings, reported in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, bolster the case for routinely offering heart attack patients smoking-cessation counseling — which other studies have suggested can lower the risk of further complications.
“Smokers who have had a heart attack should be provided with appropriate interventions to help them quit,” write Dr Yariv Gerber and colleagues from Tel Aviv University.
The study included 1,521 adults age 65 and older who were treated at one of eight Israeli hospitals for a first-time heart attack in 1992 or 1993. At the time, 27 percent had never smoked, 20 percent were former smokers, and more than half were current smokers. After hospital discharge, a majority of smokers tried to quit; 35 percent managed to remain continuously abstinent over the next 10 to 13 years.
A total of 427 patients died during the 13-year study period. The risk was greatest among those who had continued to smoke, even with factors like obesity, exercise habits, education and income, and overall health taken into account. And while quitting altogether was best, smokers who cut back after their heart attack also improved their outlook, Gerber’s team found.
Among the 381 patients who continued to smoke, the risk of dying during the study period declined by 11 percent for every five daily cigarettes they cut out.
The researchers point out that the quit rates in this study — with more than one-third continuously abstinent for at least a decade — were high as compared with the norm for smokers, but consistent with what’s been seen for heart attack survivors.
They also note that the benefits of quitting, either before or after a heart attack, are at least as great as those of other common therapies to prevent further heart problems — including cholesterol lowering, and use of aspirin and beta-blocker medications, which lower the risk of death by anywhere from 15 percent to 29 percent.
Also:
NEW YORK: Smoking and other types of tobacco use may increase the pain of temporomandibular joint disorders, a new study suggests.
Temporomandibular joint disorders, commonly known as TMJ, are a group of conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and surrounding muscles. Symptoms include radiating pain in the jaw, face or neck; limited movement or “locking” of the jaw; and a painful “clicking” when the mouth opens or closes.
The cause of a person’s TMJ problem is often not clear, but it can stem from damage to the joint from arthritis or an injury.
Smoking has not been established as a risk factor for TMJ development, but research has shown that among people with certain painful conditions — such as fibromyalgia and chronic back pain — tobacco users tend to have more severe pain.
To see whether this might be true of TMJ patients, researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, assessed 606 patients seen at their center over two years.
Overall, they found, there was no clear link between TMJ pain severity and current tobacco use — whether smoking or chewing tobacco.
However, the findings changed when the researchers focused on the 55 percent of patients who did not have myofascial pain — that is, their TMJ was caused by arthritis or other pain in the joint, rather than problems in the jaw muscles.Among these patients, current tobacco users were between four and five times more likely to have moderate to severe pain.
Dr Toby N. Weingarten and colleagues report the findings in the medical journal Pain.
It’s not clear why tobacco users would have worse TMJ pain — or why that would be the case only for those without myofascial involvement.
Smoking is thought to speed degeneration in the spinal bones, and it’s possible that the same could occur in the temporomandibular joint, Weingarten’s team notes. However, they add, the fact that smokers do not have higher TMJ rates argues against that theory.
Whatever the reasons for the findings, the study suggests that quitting smoking could help ease some patients’ TMJ pain, the researchers write. Former tobacco users, they note, were no more likely than non-users to have moderate or severe pain.

 


By: Reuters

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