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Chances of having a heart attack when you are a passive smoker

Recent research has examined the question of the extent to which exposure to what is known as “second hand smoke”(Inhalation by a person who is not smoking the cigarette from which said smoke comes) can influence the chances that the passive smoker suffer a heart attack.

The team of Dr. Travis Skipina, from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, in the United States, analyzed data from 11,219 people who declared not to be smokers. These people were followed from 1988 to 1994. They had a mean age of 48 years and just over half were women (55.9%). Nearly 1 in 5 had evidence of secondhand smoke exposure.

The data showed that nonsmokers with recent exposure to secondhand smoke were 35% more likely to develop heart failure compared to those who had not been in contact with tobacco smoke. The relationship between exposure to tobacco smoke and heart failure remained, even after taking into account other factors known to increase the risk of heart failure, such as a history of other heart disease, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

The relationship between secondhand smoke and heart failure was higher in men (compared to women) and among those who had already had a heart attack or stroke. The results were similar in other subgroups, including different ethnicities and individuals with obesity and diabetes.

“For whatever reason, in men, the impact of secondhand smoke seems to be more likely to put them at risk for heart failure,” Skipina says. “Men, in general, tend to get cardiovascular disease at a younger age so that may be why they were predisposed.”

Cigarette butts (Photo: Oscar Tarragó / Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), Division of Toxicology and Environmental Medicine / CDC)

Although previous studies have shown the impact of secondhand smoke exposure in people with existing heart failure (for example, on outcomes such as mortality, quality of life, and exercise tolerance), this is the first to show an association between tobacco exposure and the development of heart failure. (Source: NCYT from Amazings)

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