Smoking is even more harmful to the heart than previously thought. By comparing heart ultrasounds of current smokers to those of non-smokers, researchers have found differences in structure and function.
Smoking is responsible for more than 8 million deaths worldwide every year according to the world health organization. Among smokers, many preventable deaths are due to cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke. The harmful effects of smoking on the arteries and arterial diseases are already well established.
However, Danish researchers believe that the link between the smoking and the structure and function of the heart is unclear. They will present the results of their study to be published at the annual congress of the European Society of Cardiology to be held in Barcelona. Their work aimed to determine whether smoking was linked to changes in the structure and function of the heart in people without cardiovascular disease, as well as the effect of changing smoking habits.
Quitting smoking reverses some heart damage
The team compared the ultrasounds heart of smokers current to those of people who have never smoked. ” We found that current smoking and pack-year accumulation were associated with deterioration in the structure and function of the left cardiac chamber, the most important part of the heart “, explains Dr. Holt, author of the study.
According to the new study, current smoking is associated with deterioration in the structure and function of the left heart chamber (the right side in the diagram).
”Additionally, we found that over a 10-year period, people who continued to smoke developed a thicker, heavier and weaker heart – less able to pump blood – compared to people who never smoked and to those who quit smoking during this period”.