THURSDAY, Oct. 25 (HealthDay News) -- People who are smokers at the time of their first stroke have a greater risk of another stroke, heart attack or death than those who never smoked, according to a study by Australian researchers.
And those who quit smoking before their stroke had a lower risk than those who were still smoking when they had a stroke, the researchers noted.
"Smokers are more likely to do badly after a stroke," said lead researcher Amanda Thrift, a professor of epidemiology at Monash University.
Ex-smokers, however, fared much better, she said.
"Stop smoking, because one of the things we showed is that people who gave up smoking had a much greater benefit than those who were still smoking," Thrift said. "There are real benefits to be gained from giving up smoking."
The report was published in the Oct. 25 online edition of the journal Stroke.
For the study, Thrift's team collected data on more than 1,500 stroke survivors who had a stroke between 1996 and 1999.
After 10 years of follow-up, the investigators found that those who were smokers when they had their stroke were 30 percent more likely to have another stroke, heart attack or die, compared to those who never smoked. These risks were particularly significant among younger stroke patients.
Smokers who survived the first 28 days after their stroke had a 42 percent increased risk of these outcomes, the researchers found. For those who had quit smoking before their stroke, difference in risk dropped to 18 percent.
Comparing only current smokers and former smokers, of those who survived the first four weeks after a stroke, those who were still smoking at the time of their stroke had a 23 percent higher risk of a recurring stroke, heart attack or death within the next 10 years.
These findings were further skewed by poverty, with a 52 percent increased risk
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