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Smokers urged to quit ‘sooner rather than later’

Stoptober: Celebrities back giving up smoking campaign

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A study published in the Journal of Hypertension assessed the impact of the popular habit on cardiovascular health.

They assessed a document compiled by China Nationwide Ambulatory and Home Blood Pressure Registry in 2020.

In their conclusion, they wrote: “In summary, the study hints always to collect information on cigarette smoking in all individuals undergoing out-of-office BP measurement. Among smokers, heavy smokers should be considered as a potential target for the screening of masked hypertension, particularly if their office BP is in the normal or high-normal range and if they are middle-aged male individuals.

“In this context, future research is needed to develop optimal screening strategies and to understand population-level implications of using ABPM or HBPM for the detection of masked hypertension.”

As a result, the conclusion suggested that those who smoked should be assessed for blood pressure reduction or hypertension prevention measures.

This is not the first and has certainly not been the last time smoking has been linked with poor cardiovascular health.

A study conducted by the John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology concluded that smoking cigarettes doubled the risk of heart failure.

They wrote that cigarette smoking represented a significant risk factor for both types of heart failure, reduced ejection fraction and preserved ejection fraction.

Heart failure, says the NHS, is when “the heart is unable to pump blood around the body properly” and usually happens “because the heart has become too weak or stiff”.

Reduced ejection fraction occurs when the left ventricle, the main pump in the heart, fails to contract sufficiently when pumping blood out of the heart while preserved ejection fraction is when that same left ventricle, that same main pump, fails to relax sufficiently after contracting.

For this study, the researchers looked at records of a 9,500 people who took part in a long running study in four American communities.

They found the risk of heart failure rose even after participants had stopped smoking and continued on for a number of years.

Senior study author Professor Kunihiro Matsushita wrote: “These findings underline the importance of preventing smoking in the first place, especially among children and young adults.

“We hope our results will encourage current smokers to quit sooner rather than later, since the harm of smoking can last for as many as three decades.”

The main symptoms of heart failure

The main symptoms of heart failure, say the NHS, are:
• Breathlessness
• Fatigue
• Swollen ankles and legs
• Feeling lightheaded and fainting.

However, these aren’t the only the symptoms, less common signs such as a persistent cough, wheezing, bloating, loss of appetite, weight gain, weight loss, confusion, a fast heart rate, and a heart palpitations can also occur.

How heart failure is treated

For most patients, heart failure is not an easy fix. Like a proverbial broken heart it has to be managed, but unlike that metaphorical one, in almost all cases it cannot be completely mended.

Treatments for heart failure range from lifestyle changes through to medication, the implanting of devices in the chest, and surgery.

Lifestyle changes include eating a balanced, exercising regularly, quitting smoking, and limiting alcohol consumption.

Alongside this, heart failure can make an individual more susceptible to infections which can makes them more vulnerable during the winter months to cold and flu viruses.

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