Prediabetes and tobacco use may triple stroke risk, study finds

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A recent study has revealed that young adults who use tobacco and have prediabetes face a significantly increased risk of stroke.

This groundbreaking research was presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2023, highlighting the dangers of persistent tobacco use combined with prediabetes in young people.

The study analyzed over a million young tobacco users (aged 18-44) without known cardiovascular risk factors like high blood pressure or obesity.

Researchers found that individuals with prediabetes—a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal—exhibited a notably higher risk of stroke.

These individuals were free from other traditional cardiovascular risk factors, emphasizing the unique dangers posed by the combination of tobacco use and prediabetes.

The Impact of Prediabetes and Tobacco Use

Prediabetes is often a precursor to Type 2 diabetes and increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Lifestyle changes can mitigate these risks, but the study underscores the additional danger posed by tobacco use.

For young adults dependent on tobacco, having prediabetes can triple the risk of experiencing a stroke, even in the absence of other health issues.

Urgency for Early Screening and Lifestyle Changes

The study’s lead author, Advait Vasavada, M.B.B.S., emphasizes the need for early screening and preventive measures for young tobacco users with prediabetes.

This demographic requires targeted strategies to reduce their stroke risk. Esa M. Davis, M.D., MPH, echoes these sentiments, pointing out the critical importance of quitting tobacco use, especially for those with prediabetes.

The Broader Implications for Young Adults

The study shatters the misconception that stroke is a condition only affecting older individuals. With increasing evidence of strokes occurring in younger ages, the importance of quitting smoking and managing prediabetes becomes even more crucial.

The study’s findings serve as a stark reminder of the heightened risks young adults face when combining tobacco use with prediabetes.

The study, based on 2019 National Inpatient Sample data, included mostly white adults with a median age of 36 for the prediabetes group.

It analyzed electronic health records and considered several influencing factors, although there may be other unrecognized elements impacting stroke risk.

The researchers call for prospective studies to further explore stroke rates over time in this population.

A Call for Awareness and Action

This study highlights a critical health concern for young adults combining tobacco use with prediabetes.

It underscores the importance of early detection, lifestyle changes, and, most importantly, the cessation of tobacco use to mitigate the increased risk of stroke and cardiovascular events.

If you care about smoking, please read studies about smoking may increase heart disease risk by 200% and e-cigarette smoke may cause lung cancer and bladder disease.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about the cause of weight gain after smoking cessation, and results showing smoking may cause white scars on the brain.

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