Staff from the UW-Madison Cardiology Lab (from left): Assistant Professor Dr. Carol Mitchell, Exercise Physiologist Laura Zeller, Senior Sonographer and Study Coordinator JoAnne Weber, Exercise Physiologist Jean Einerson, UW Health Preventive Cardiology Director Dr. James Stein, Associate Lab Manager Kristen Hansen, Senior Research Scientist and Manager Dr. Claudia Korcarz.
Helping Your Heart
Researchers also collected blood and urine samples and examined them for signs of inflammation, which is the body’s way of protecting itself. Inflammation affects not only how quickly injuries heal. It also affects how healthy one’s heart and arteries are.
The more inflammation a patient has, the harder it is on that patient’s heart. We found that certain inflammation markers, such as the number of white blood cells, worsened the more people smoked. When people quit smoking, the number of white blood cells was much lower. This seemed to be one more way quitting can improve cardiovascular health.
Combination Meds Helped
WSHS 2 patients in the treatment trial answered automated calls on or around their quit day. UW-CTRI researchers found those who used either 1) Chantix or 2) nicotine patches + lozenges felt better after quitting than those who used only patches. They weren’t as overwhelmed by cravings.
Now researchers and clinicians can tell smokers and healthcare providers that these medications help reduce smokers’ withdrawal when they try to quit.