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Can Coronary Heart Diseases Still Develop If One Has Quit Smoking Years Ago?

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Posted on Wed, 8 Nov 2017
Question: I have a question: I smoked for 6 years from 19-25 years of age about half a pack a day. I quit smoking several years ago. After that I ate fast food twice a day for 3 years. I am 29 now and healthier than ever. I don’t smoke, eat extremely healthy, workout, and so on.


I am just worried about my chances of heart disease. I read about hard plaque and soft plaque. I read that you’re able to stabilize soft plaque and heal the fibrous cap on it if you just let the body do it’s job and heal and strengthen it and the the problem is no one ever takes care of their blood pressure, exercises, or eats right and that just keeps eating away at the cap. But if you fix all that and get it to normal levels, it can stablize again. Just want to know your thoughts
doctor
Answered by Dr. Bhanu Partap (1 hour later)
Brief Answer:
Please refer to the detailed answer below

Detailed Answer:
Hello

After going through the medical details provide by you i understand your concern for your health and first of all i would like to appreciate your decision to quit SMOKING.

Now regarding your concern i would like to tell you that as your are quite young and you have already stopped smoking and following a healthy lifestyle routine daily, this routine will be enough to help your body recover from whatever effects it has got during your smoking period.

According to studies it has been shown that the risk of developing coronary artery disease of the heart equalizes among smokers and non smokers 3 - 5 yrs after complete cessation of smoking.

Even healthy individuals have mild streaking of plaque in the blood vessels.

So its advisable to just keep following healthy lifestyle routine as you are doing now.

I hope this information will relieve your worries.

Kind Regards
Dr Bhanu Partap
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Vishesh Rohatgi
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Bhanu Partap (5 minutes later)
is it true though what I said about your body able to stabilize soft plaque:

"I read that youre able to stabilize soft plaque and heal the fibrous cap on it if you just let the body do its job and heal and strengthen it and the the problem is no one ever takes care of their blood pressure, exercises, or eats right and that just keeps eating away at the cap. But if you fix all that and get it to normal levels, it can stabilize again. Just want to know your thoughts."
doctor
Answered by Dr. Bhanu Partap (26 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Hello Again

Detailed Answer:
Yes that is right that our body has the ability to heal and stabilize these plaques. This ability is even further enhanced when you keep your blood pressure under control, exercise daily and eat healthy.

High blood pressure causes wear and tears in the endothelial lining of the blood vessels over which soft plaque develops with the help of cholesterol content. Now if we keep our blood pressure under control and eat healthy which maintains a normal cholesterol levels the rate of occurrence of all these initial insults becomes negligible thereby avoiding any development of disease.

I hope this information will answer your query.

Kind Regards
Dr Bhanu Partap
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Vishesh Rohatgi
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Bhanu Partap (15 hours later)
so besides strengthening the fiberous cap, can you get rid of any plaque at all through diet and exercise?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Bhanu Partap (4 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Hello Again

Detailed Answer:
As I said earlier till now we know that the plaque formation and it's progression can be slowed down significantly with the help of proper diet and healthy lifestyle.

Regarding the complete reversibilty of the disease process of regression back of the plaque to completely normal endothelium lining is still under extensive research.

If you want you can visit JACC website and read this article on REVESIBILITY OF ENDOTHELIAL DYSFUNCTION.

I hope this information will answer your query.

Regards
Dr Bhanu partap
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Yogesh D
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Bhanu Partap (15 minutes later)
so it can be slowed down AND we can strengthen the fiberous caps even after they are damaged through nutrition and excerise? I just read that the reason we get heart attacks is the plaque gets free and clogs. we are able tho to rebuild that cap from soft to strong again to prevent that even if it's been worn down?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Bhanu Partap (29 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Hello Again

Detailed Answer:
Yes upto some extent, but can vary from person to person because every human body is unique and not alike.

Regards
Dr Bhanu partap
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Nagamani Ng
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Bhanu Partap (50 minutes later)
I have a question concerning cancer. When it comes to lung cancer and people who smoke, they always say that “you have X % of getting cancer,” even if you stopped smoking several years back and at a young age like me.


My question is about how cancer works basically. For example, let’s say I stopped smoking but no dna mutation was done to lungs. Am I still able to get lung cancer? Or what if my dna is mutated. Does that mean I automatically get lung cancer?


They talk about percentages but I don’t really know what that means. Does that mean that you’re not sure if I have mutated genes and just the chances of me getting cancer are based on that and then I develop it later on? Or that even if I don’t have mutated genes, I can still get them and get cancer?


I ask because people talk about risk and percentages but what if I stopped for X years but the mutation was already done??


People say my risk will go back to normal but what if I already mutated my genes? Then I guess it won't go back to normal right?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Bhanu Partap (34 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Hello Again

Detailed Answer:
The risk would have been high in case you have continued to smoke but as you have stopped smoking 3 years back and if you wont restart it back again the risk will be almost equal to a non smoker in few more years.

Gene mutations does not happen over such a short period of time. So dont worry you haven't got mutations in your genes.

Thanks
Dr Bhanu Partap
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Nagamani Ng
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Bhanu Partap (18 minutes later)
so what I'm trying to get at then is if that is the case that I have no mutation, what makes my risk higher if I stopped 3 years ago?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Bhanu Partap (1 hour later)
Brief Answer:
Its no high

Detailed Answer:
Who said you are at high risk, i explained that your risk is declining as you have stopped smoking 3 years back and it will equalize with non smokers in couple of more years (provided you will not start smoking again).

For your information according to scientific research less than 10% of people gets lung cancer who smokes lifelong.

So stop worrying, follow healthy lifestyle and enjoy your life.

Thanks
Dr Bhanu Partap
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Nagamani Ng
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Answered by
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Dr. Bhanu Partap

Cardiologist

Practicing since :2010

Answered : 4564 Questions

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Can Coronary Heart Diseases Still Develop If One Has Quit Smoking Years Ago?

Brief Answer: Please refer to the detailed answer below Detailed Answer: Hello After going through the medical details provide by you i understand your concern for your health and first of all i would like to appreciate your decision to quit SMOKING. Now regarding your concern i would like to tell you that as your are quite young and you have already stopped smoking and following a healthy lifestyle routine daily, this routine will be enough to help your body recover from whatever effects it has got during your smoking period. According to studies it has been shown that the risk of developing coronary artery disease of the heart equalizes among smokers and non smokers 3 - 5 yrs after complete cessation of smoking. Even healthy individuals have mild streaking of plaque in the blood vessels. So its advisable to just keep following healthy lifestyle routine as you are doing now. I hope this information will relieve your worries. Kind Regards Dr Bhanu Partap