When people reach their sunset years, they sometimes doubt the value of making healthy lifestyle changes. What good will it do, you might wonder, to start exercising daily? Is it really worth my while to trade my french fries for fresh veggies? Is it too late to quit smoking? But no matter how old you are, your body and mind can benefit from healthy lifestyle changes like being more active, eating more fresh produce, getting high-quality sleep, and quitting smoking. So even if you’re a lifelong smoker, it’s worthwhile to quit smoking right now. In fact, within 24 hours of stopping smoking, you decrease your risk of a heart attack! Scroll down to learn why quitting smoking is so beneficial, even in your sunset years.
Is It Too Late to Quit Smoking?
Did you know that tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of disease in the world? It accounts for 80 to 90 percent of lung cancer deaths. So no matter what your age, the answer is “no” if you’re wondering, “Is it too late to quit smoking?” Even the oldest smokers can enjoy significant advantages if they kick the habit.
Immediate Health Benefits
Perhaps surprisingly, the effects of quitting smoking are speedy. Within an hour, your body will change for the better. If you stick with it, you’ll enjoy more benefits as the months and years go by. Check out this timeline of what you can expect if you quit smoking right now (source):
- Within an hour, your heart rate and blood pressure will drop.
- Within about 12 hours, your blood’s carbon monoxide level will return to normal.
- Within about 9 months, smoking side effects like shortness of breath and coughing should go away. You may find it easier to exercise and notice an improvement in your senses of smell and taste.
- Within about a year, your risk of coronary heart disease will shrink by half.
- Within about five years, your risk of stroke will reach that of a nonsmoker.
- Within ten years, your risk of developing lung cancer will go down substantially. You’ll also greatly reduce your risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas.
- Within 15 years, your overall health risks will be similar to someone who has never smoked at all!
Reduced Risk of Death
If your body is given enough time, it will repair itself and attempt to eliminate the effects of smoking. Depending on how old you are and how often you smoked, you could add between two and ten years to your life.
And according to a review of previous studies (conducted in the U.S., China, Australia, Japan, England, Spain, and France), researchers at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg found that smokers over the age of 60 could reduce their risk of premature death by 28 percent by quitting smoking (source).
Enhanced Quality of Life
Finally, don’t underestimate the ways in which quitting smoking can impact your quality of life. As a smoker, you might suffer from shortness of breath, a persistent cough, a sore throat, or chest pain. You might find it difficult to exercise, especially if the workout requires endurance, and struggle to smell and taste things. Smokers are also more likely to suffer from illnesses like the flu, colds, bronchitis, and pneumonia. By quitting smoking, you can greatly enhance your quality of life, no matter how old you are. Plus, you’ll protect your loved ones from the dangers of secondhand smoke.
Have you decided to quit smoking? Good for you! But breaking a habit is difficult, especially if you’re trying to quit on your own. We encourage you to seek help from a trained health care provider or counselor who can offer advice and support and recommend different forms of behavioral therapy and approved medications. With their help, you can stop smoking for good.
Are you looking for an assisted living community in Tennessee? Check out Hearthside Senior Living in Collierville and Bartlett. Our warm and inviting communities makes it easy for seniors to embrace a healthy lifestyle, with home-cooked and restaurant-style meals, exercise classes, and a nurse devoted to residents’ health and wellness. To learn more about our amenities and services, please contact us online.