The site is geared toward patients and others with an interest in learning more about good heart health. Here you will find summaries of current heart-related news items and interpretation of information in the media.  Printable tip sheets are available for you to download. A question and answer section provides additional information.


Thought for Today:

Today I would like to talk about smoking. I know that you are all aware that smoking is unhealthy, but it is worth repeating. The average smoker gives up 10 years of life, and at almost any age smokers are less healthy than non-smokers and in general have the health level of non-smokers 10 years older. Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease, for cancer, and for lung disease. The skin of smokers ages more quickly and so smokers are more wrinkled and look older. Older smokers have more rapid declines in cognitive function and a recent study showed that even exposure to secondhand smoke is associated with poorer mental function. So what to do about it? We know that people can quit, and many millions have. We also know that when smokers suffer a heart attack the immediate and permanent smoking cessation rate is 50%, and with modest help such as a series of supportive phone calls that permanent smoking cessation rate can jump to 70%. So why not quit before you have that heart attack! Here is a link to a help sheet on this topic. In addition, in Massachusetts there is now a free service called Quitworks to which you can be referred by your physician. The website ishttp://www.makesmokinghistory.org/quitworks/index.php, and you can ask your physician to refer you to it. The site has brochures at http://www.makesmokinghistory.org/quitworks/tools/smokerbrochures.php. There is also a specific site for patients at http://makesmokinghistory.org/quitting-smoking/.

If you smoke, you should quit. You can do it. Few smokers quit for good the first time they make an attempt at cessation. But with each try you learn. Do it again, and this time do it for good.

Ira Ockene, MD
Professor of Medicine

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Helpful links

Center for Applied Nutrition
detailed nutritional information

American Heart Association
patient information website

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
information on many topics in all fields of medicine

The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute
patient information website


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