In a finding that confirms healthy habits make for healthy hearts, new research shows that smokers and obese people must have their clogged arteries cleared at much younger ages than nonsmokers or people who are a normal weight.
It found that angioplasty and/or stenting to widen coronary arteries and restore blood flow had to be performed in smokers nearly a decade sooner than in nonsmokers, and that obese patients who had these procedures were four years younger than patients who weren't obese.
Women also typically had their first procedure to clear blocked arteries at a later age than men, according to the researchers.
The study included more than 108,000 patients without a history of heart attack who were treated at hospitals across Michigan participating in the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Cardiovascular Consortium.
Nearly all of the patients had at least one risk factor for heart trouble -- including smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes -- and most of them had three or more risk factors.
Over the past decade, rates of obesity and diabetes have increased among patients undergoing their first angioplasty or stent procedure, while rates of smoking and high cholesterol have decreased, according to the researchers.
"Smoking is a completely preventable risk factor," said senior study author Dr. Devraj Sukul, an interventional cardiologist and a clinical lecturer at the University of Michigan Health Frankel Cardiovascular Center.
"If we direct additional efforts at preventing smoking and obesity, we could significantly delay the onset of heart disease and the need for angioplasty and stenting," Sukul said in a university news release.
"In Michigan, we will work to help every smoker quit at the time of cardiac care because it is an unmatched teachable moment for patients," said Dr. Michael Englesbe, a surgeon and professor at Michigan Medicine.
The findings were published June 9 in the journal PLOS ONE.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more on angioplasty and stent placement.
SOURCE: Michigan Medicine-University of Michigan, news release, June 9, 2021