By Dr S S Sibal
Everyone knows that smoking is bad for health. It can cause heart disease, peripheral arterial disease (PAD), cancer, Alzheimer’s and a whole host of other problems. For years, scientists assumed that the damage was done either by the smoke or the nicotine. A new study on a group of smokers found something very surprising. The researchers discovered high levels of lead and cadmium in blood of those with artery damage. Those with the highest blood levels of these metals were three times more likely to develop PAD. The scientists concluded that not the smoke, but the heavy metals in cigarette smoke damage the lining of arteries, leading to more pronounced disease.
These metals don’t have to be very high to cause problems and the arterial disease can be was associated with lead concentrations only 13% higher than those without PAD. The toxins in cigarette smoke affect even non smokers and as the heavy metals are everywhere they are easily absorbed from the environment and many edibles. A little lead enter our body every time we sip coffee from a ceramic mug or smudges the fingers with lead containing ink when reading the daily newspaper. Even the computer monitor and television set contain lead and many candles contain lead in their wicks that raise the concentration of lead in the air when they burn.
The good news is that toxic heavy metals can be removed with a process known as chelation therapy. Medical practitioners have treated atherosclerotic disease that causes heart attack with chelation therapy for over 50 years. Till now lack of strong evidence relegated chelation therapy to complementary medicine practitioners, who reported good results. Over time evidence linking metals with cardiovascular disease and mortality gradually accumulated, suggesting a possible role for chelation therapy. Based on this concept the Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT) was conducted. In the study intravenous EDTA based chelation with multivitamins and multi-minerals was given. Total 1708 patients aged 50 years or above, who had already had a heart attack were studied. The treatment proved to be safe and reduced overall cardiovascular events by 18%. The benefit in patients with diabetes mellitus was even better with a 41% reduction in need for treatment.
Dr Sibia, Director of Sibia Medical Centre, Ludhiana introduced this service in India
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