Effects of smoking on serum lipids and the blood pressure response to a rehabilitation exercise programme for cardiac patients
The epidemiological association between cigarette smoking and atherosclerosis is firmly established. Numerous studies have demonstrated that smoking causes dyslipidaemia and increases blood pressure. Cardiac rehabilitation has become an accepted form of treatment for many patients with cardiovascular diseases; the benefits of exercise training have been demonstrated for functional capacity, psychosocial characteristics and lipoprotein patterns of patients. This study provides information on the response of total cholesterol, serum triglycerides, mean systolic blood pressure and mean diastolic blood pressure to a three-month rehabilitation exercise programme according to the smoking habits of the patients. The study group was made up of 20 men and women aged 30–65 years who had a history of acute myocardial infarct, according to the World Health Organization criteria, and were referred to our rehabilitation exercise programme. There were 15 non-smokers and five smokers. A questionnaire eliciting information mainly about the major risk factors, especially smoking status, was completed by each patient. Blood pressure was measured from the right arm in the sitting position according to the World Health Organization standardized protocol, and a fasting blood sample was obtained to measure baseline lipids. These parameters were measured again on the completion of the rehabilitation programme, after three months. During the three months, all the patients exercised two to three times a week for 50–60 min at an intensity of 70–85% of their maximal heart rate.