Smoking can double your risk of heart failure

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Scientists from Johns Hopkins found that people who smoked tobacco cigarettes developed heart failure at twice the rate of those who never smoked.

This higher rate occurred in two major heart failure subtypes and confirms that cigarette smoking presents a higher risk factor for both.

The study is thought to be one of the first to assess smoking’s association with both heart failure subtypes: reduced ejection fraction and preserved ejection fraction.

The findings underline the importance of preventing smoking in the first place, especially among children and young adults.

There are two types of heart failure: reduced ejection fraction and preserved ejection fraction.

Heart failure with reduced ejection fraction is more closely tied to coronary artery disease. Treatment includes several medications that improve prognosis.

In heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, the left ventricle fails to relax sufficiently after contracting. Treatment for heart failure with preserved ejection fraction is very limited, making its prevention critically important.

In the study, the researchers analyzed records from a long-running study of nearly 9,500 individuals in four U.S communities.

They found that smokers in the group were diagnosed with the two heart failure subtypes at about the same elevated rates compared to never-smokers—2.28 times higher for preserved ejection fraction, and 2.16 times higher for reduced ejection fraction.

The link with smoking also showed a “dose-response” relationship—more cigarettes per day and more years of smoking being associated with higher heart failure risk.

Similarly, quitting smoking brought a drop in heart failure risk that increased over time.

Overall, former smokers were 31% and 36% more likely to have preserved ejection fraction and reduced ejection fraction, respectively, compared to never-smokers.

When the researchers stratified former smokers by the number of years since quitting, they found that their overall heart failure risk remained much higher than never-smokers’ risk—except for the group that hadn’t smoked for 30 years or more.

This reinforces the view that smoking casts a long shadow over heart health.

If you care about smoking, please read studies about why some non-smokers get lung disease and some heavy smokers do not, and smoking cessation drug may help treat Parkinson’s disease.

For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about new way to prevent heart attacks and strokes, and results showing this drug for heart disease may reduce COVID-19 risk.

The research was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and conducted by Kunihiro Matsushita et al.

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