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How Much Does Quitting Smoking Lower Cholesterol

Understanding The Risks Of High Cholesterol

Cholesterol: Don’t Smoke

Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in your body, as well as in some foods. Although cholesterol has a negative reputation, your body actually needs a certain amount of it to work correctly. Unfortunately, many people have too much cholesterol in their blood because of the foods they eat.

Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol makes up most of the bodys cholesterol. This bad cholesterol puts you at high risk for heart disease because it slowly collects and hardens in your arteries to form plaque. This narrows your arteries, which can lead to a or stroke.

You can lower your LDL cholesterol levels by changing your diet, exercising, and not . Your doctor may also prescribe medication to reduce your cholesterol levels and keep them under control.

What Happens To Your Body When You Quit Smoking Cigarettes

If you smoke, you may feel overwhelmed at the thought of quitting. Some people continue to smoke because they feel they have already damaged their body. This is simply not true. Your body benefits in as little as one hour after putting out your last cigarette. The sooner you quit smoking, the greater long-term health benefits you will enjoy. Some of these include a reduced risk of asthma, bronchitis, lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke.

Which Is The Culprit: The Drug Or The Vitamin

Which component of the tredaptive drug trial should be blamed for causing problems? Apparently the headlines have implicated niacin by default. After all, it can cause flushes! Well, niacin, an essential nutrient, has been used very safely at very high doses for over 60 years. It has been shown to reduce mortalities due to cardiovascular disease, even 10 years after patients stop taking it. The effect of niacin in preventing dyslipidemia is known to occur through PGD1 pathways. In contrast, laropiprant is a relatively new drug that blocks PDG1 pathways. It was included in the compound drug tredaptive to prevent the niacin flush side effect that sometimes occurs in some patients. However, it was not included for any clinically beneficial effect on cardiovascular disease, and it may have have even blocked the desired effects of niacin. The prostaglandin pathways inside cells are complex, and they are a current topic of intense research. In some studies, laropiprant showed a side effect on platelet DP1 receptors, which suggests that it may have adverse side effects on other receptors than on blood vessels within the skin, for example, in lung tissue and in the brain.

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Drug Raised Hdl As Expected

The study, called the AIM-HIGH trial, enrolled 3,414 volunteers in the United States and Canada who were taking a statin to keep their LDL cholesterol low. More than half had suffered a heart attack before entering the trial.

All volunteers were given Zocor, and 515 participants were given a second LDL cholesterol-lowering drug, Mercks Zetia, or ezetimibe, to make sure their LDL stayed in the target range of 40 to 80 milligrams per deciliter, which are very low levels.

Researchers said the drug performed as expected, raising HDL by about 28 percent and lowering triglycerides by about 25 percent, in keeping with other studies.

Late last month, an independent panel looked at the interim results of the study and concluded that high-dose niacin offered no benefits beyond statins alone in reducing heart complications, prompting the decision to end the study early.

There was also a slightly higher rate of strokes among patients who took niacin, but the overall rate of strokes in both groups was low.

Abbott, which reported Niaspan sales rose 8.4 percent to $927 million last year, said the relevance of the findings outside the type of patients in the study is currently unknown and it would be premature to extrapolate these results to a broader patient population at this time.

Wells Fargo Securities analyst Larry Biegelsen said the surprise findings could cut Niaspan sales by 20 to 30 percent.

Hdl Improvements May Lower Heart Risks

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AHA spokesman Russell Luepker, MD, of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, tells WebMD that studies have suggested that weight gain may have more of a negative effect on LDL levels than on HDL levels.

“If people hadn’t gained weight, there might have been an LDL benefit and an even more robust benefit in terms of HDL,” says Luepker, who was not involved with the work.

Over time, the improvements in HDL would probably translate into a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, Gepner tells WebMD. Studies have shown that every 1 mg/dL increase in HDL lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease events, including heart attacks, strokes, and death from heart disease, by 2% to 3% over 10 years, he says.

Interestingly, heavy smokers and light smokers gained the same HDL benefit, Gepner says. The type of smoking cessation strategy also did not affect the results.

The study involved 923 men and women enrolled in a study testing various smoking cessation methods, including nicotine lozenges and nicotine patches. When they entered the study, participants smoked an average of about two packs a day. By one year later, about one-third had successfully kicked the habit.

Gepner says exactly how smoking affects cholesterol levels is unknown, although it is believed to have to do with transporting lipid particles.

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Genetic Predisposition For Heart Disease In Smokers

Although the toxins introduced into the lungs are the same for every smoker, how they affect the body can vary greatly among these individuals. A 2007 study suggests that genetic factors play a significant role in cardiovascular disease risk among smokers.

Researchers at the University of Rochester found that 60% to 70% of the population has a common genetic defect in the substance that maintains the proportion of HDL to LDL. This substance is called the cholesteryl ester transfer protein . Though its exact workings are not fully understood, scientists believe CETP mediates the transfer of HDL to LDL cholesterol.

The genetic defect causes the CETP to work in overdrive, attacking the HDL and breaking it into particles that can be easily removed from the blood. This lowers HDL levels.

Because smoking is also known to lower HDL levels, the authors of the study note that the cumulative effect of both smoking and the genetic defect greatly increases the risk of developing heart disease. The study found that smokers with the genetic defect are “likely to suffer a heart attack 12 years earlier than a non-smoker.” Smokers who do not carry the common genetic defect have the same risk of having a heart attack as non-smokers.

Lifestyle Changes To Lower Cholesterol

Heart-healthy lifestyle changes that can help you lower or control your cholesterol include:

  • Heart-healthy eating. A heart-healthy eating plan limits the amount of saturated and trans fats that you eat. It recommends that you eat and drink only enough calories to stay at a healthy weight and avoid weight gain. It encourages you to choose a variety of nutritious foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. Examples of eating plans that can lower your cholesterol include the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet and the DASH eating plan.
  • Weight Management. If you are overweight, losing weight can help lower your LDL cholesterol. This is especially important for people with metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors that includes high triglyceride levels, low HDL cholesterol levels, and being overweight with a large waist measurement .
  • Physical Activity. Everyone should get regular physical activity .
  • Managing stress. Research has shown that chronic stress can sometimes raise your LDL cholesterol and lower your HDL cholesterol.
  • Quitting smoking.Quitting smoking can raise your HDL cholesterol. Since HDL helps to remove LDL cholesterol from your arteries, having more HDL can help to lower your LDL cholesterol.

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How Can I Lower My Cholesterol Level

The first step in reducing your cholesterol is to maintain a healthy, balanced diet. Its important to keep your diet low in fatty food.

You can swap food containing saturated fat for fruit, vegetables and wholegrain cereals. This will also help prevent high cholesterol returning.

Other lifestyle changes, such as taking regular exercise and giving up smoking, can also make a big difference in helping to lower your cholesterol.

If these measures dont reduce your cholesterol and you continue to have a high risk of developing heart disease, your GP may prescribe a cholesterol-lowering medication, such as statins.

Your GP will take into account the risk of any side effects from statins. The benefit of lowering your cholesterol must outweigh any risks.

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Effects Of Smoking On Your Cardiovascular System

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Cigarette smoking is a major preventable cause of premature cardiovascular disease, with the risk particularly high in people with hypertension. Cigarette smoking increases the likelihood of having a heart attack or stroke because it adds to the damage done to the blood vessels by high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.

Chronic smoking also stiffens the arteries making them less flexible as blood passes through them. As a result the heart has to work harder to move blood through the body in cigarette smokers.

Nicotine, the addictive chemical found in combustible cigarettes and other tobacco products, has been found to acutely increase blood pressure through its effects on the sympathetic nervous system. Therefore all people, especially those who already have hypertension, should quit smoking as soon as possible.

Many people, including cigarette smokers, are unaware that they have high blood pressure because the symptoms are nonspecific and therefore can be attributed to many other medical conditions.

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Quitting Smoking Improves Cholesterol

By Lynne Peeples, Reuters Health

4 Min Read

NEW YORK – Smokers who successfully quit may enjoy yet another health benefit: improved cholesterol profiles. A boost in good cholesterol comes with quitting despite weight gain after putting out the last cigarette, hints a new study.

If confirmed in future research, the finding could shed light on the strong, yet somewhat mysterious relationship between smoking and heart health. Up to 20 percent of heart disease deaths are currently blamed on smoking, but researchers havent yet had a clear understanding of what lies behind the effect. Smoking likely affects the cardiovascular system in a variety of ways, including lowered oxygen levels and wear and tear on the heart itself.

Some small studies have also shown that smoking lowers good cholesterol and raises bad cholesterol , lead researcher Dr. Adam Gepner of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, in Madison, told Reuters Health in an e-mail.

To test the impact of smoking on cholesterol levels more rigorously, and in a realistic setting, Gepner and his colleagues recruited more than 1,500 smokers representative of the current U.S. population, including its high proportion of overweight and obese individuals.

The average participant smoked about 21 cigarettes per day prior to the start of the study. After a year on one of five smoking cessation programs, 334 had succeeded in quitting.

SOURCE: link.reuters.com/hup53r American Heart Journal, January 2011.

Smoking Weakens The Spines Health

Smoking reduces the nutrient content of the blood that is delivered to the intervertebral discs and joints of the spine. Studies have drawn conclusions about whether or not the following effects of smoking play a role in back pain:

  • Low vitamin D. Smoking alters the speed of vitamin D production,13 the amount of vitamin D circulating in the blood,14 and the number of vitamin D receptors.15 Gradually, these effects may lead to vitamin D deficiency. Moderate deficiency of vitamin D has the potential to decrease bone density, which may contribute to the development of bone fractures.16 The association between vitamin D deficiency and low back pain is well-established,17 but may only exist for certain subgroups such as women less than 60 years old18 or individuals with severe vitamin D deficiency.19
  • Low vitamin C. Smokers generally metabolize vitamin C faster and have lower vitamin C levels in the blood as a result of the rapid metabolism.20 While vitamin C has been a factor of interest in low back pain research, vitamin C deficiency does not explain the link between smoking and back pain.

More research is needed to explore the possible ways that smoking leads to prolonged and more frequent episodes of back pain. Targeted treatments, such as vitamin C supplements, can be tailored to current or former smokers with back pain or at risk of developing back pain, once the association is better understood.

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How To Take B Vitamins Together

For most people, vitamin B3 can usually be obtained through a healthy diet in high enough amounts to meet your daily needs. However, if you are considering supplementation for a quick and easy way to bump up your intake, be sure to look for a high-quality supplement that is made using whole food sources. Not only does this allow your body to better absorb and utilize these nutrients, but it can also reduce the risk of unwanted vitamin B complex side effects.

Taking a B complex is a great option to ensure youre meeting your needs for the entire array of B vitamins that your body needs. Consuming B vitamins together in a quality B vitamin complex supplement also allows them to work better in the body, since the B vitamins interact with one another to help optimize digestion and absorption.

B vitamins can be beneficial in supporting metabolism and promoting heart, brain, muscle and joint health, but remember that its always preferable to consume plenty of whole foods that naturally contain all the vitamins and minerals you need instead. Try enjoying high-quality cuts of meat, including free-range and grass-fed poultry and beef, fish, beans, nuts and seeds, in order to make sure youre getting your daily fix of B vitamins. Unlike supplementation, eating plenty of foods that contain niacin should not result in levels high enough to cause any harmful niacin side effects.

Blood And The Immune System

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Normal White Blood Cell Count

When you quit smoking, your body will begin to heal from the injuries that smoking caused. Eventually, your white blood cell counts will return to normal and will no longer be on the defensive.

Proper Healing

Quitting smoking will improve blood flow to wounds, allowing important nutrients, minerals, and oxygen to reach the wound and help it heal properly.

Stronger Immune System

When you quit smoking, your immune system is no longer exposed to tar and nicotine. It will become stronger, and you will be less likely to get sick.

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Other Effects Of Quitting Smoking

Other than promoting raised number of HDL and keep the level of both LDL and triglycerides under control, quitting smoking is also believed to be able to decrease ones risk of having multiple cardiovascular and heart diseases. The risk of cancers and impotence are also decreased by quitting smoking.

However, quitting smoking, in most people, trigger something that may be unexpected. Almost all research respondents who have been quitting smoking for approximately one year gain weight for around 10 pounds. This is not a quite good news, since excessive weight gain in continuous period may also be a risk factor of elevated cholesterol level. When cholesterol level raises, the risk of having some build ups around the arteries walls also elevates. Arteries build up hence leads to the risk of stroke, high blood pressure, and heart attack.

Dealing with this, people who quit smoking should improve their lifestyle by doing exercises regularly, as well as improving their daily diet intake. If possible, a regular cholesterol level check should also be done every once or twice a year. As quitting smoking also trigger the desire of cravings for sweets, it is important to limit the intake, as sweets, when consumed excessively, may turn into high level of blood sugar, which exposes someones susceptibility of heart diseases.

Quitting Smoking And Avoiding Secondhand Smoke

One of the best ways to reduce your risk of heart disease is to avoid tobacco smoke.

  • Don’t ever start smoking.
  • If you already smoke, quit. No matter how much or how long you’ve smoked, quitting will benefit you.
  • Avoid secondhand smoke. Don’t go to places where smoking is allowed. Ask friends and family members who smoke not to do it in the house and car.

Quitting smoking lowers your risk of getting, and dying from, heart disease. Over time, quitting lowers your risk for atherosclerosis and blood clots too.

If you smoke and already have heart disease, quitting reduces your risk of cardiac death, heart attacks, and death from other chronic diseases.

Not smoking is an important part of a heart-healthy lifestyle, which also includes healthy eating, aiming for a healthy weight, managing stress, and increasing physical activity.

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How Smoking Hurts Your Heart

The chemicals in cigarettes harm your heart in many ways.

Thereâs carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas that enters your lungs and then your bloodstream. It steals oxygen from your red blood cells, so less of it gets to your organs and tissues. It also makes your artery walls hard and stiff, which can put you on the path to a heart attack.

Donât forget nicotine, an addictive chemical in both tobacco and e-cigarettes. It makes your blood vessels narrow. It jacks up your blood pressure and heart rate, too. Your heart has to pump harder and faster than normal.

Smoking also causes chemical changes in your body. Cells in your bloodstream called platelets clump together when they react with toxic cigarette ingredients. This makes your blood thicker and stickier. It becomes harder for your heart to push it through your blood vessels.

Your cholesterol levels get out of whack, too. Cigarette smoke raises levels of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, and a blood fat called triglycerides. Those cause waxy plaque to build up in your arteries. At the same time, it lowers HDL, or “good” cholesterol — the kind that prevents plaque from forming.

When your blood pressure is high, like it is while you’re smoking, arteries get stretched and scarred. Their lining gets damaged, which lets plaque grow and combine with sticky blood cells. All of this raises your risk for blood clots, which can block blood flow to your heart or other organs. That can cause heart attacks or strokes.


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