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Jolt to Quit Smoking

ed smoking at least a month before the study began, still had a fairly high occurrence of ICD discharge — about a quarter of these patients were shocked by the devices. In contrast, among patients who had never smoked, only about 6 percent received an ICD discharge.

Analysis showed that current smoking generated a seven-fold increased risk for ICD discharge, while having formerly smoked was linked to a five-and-a-half-fold increased risk. The risk of ICD discharge associated with smoking was greater than the risk associated with other factors such as age, diabetes, lung disease or use of ACE inhibitors or beta-blockers.

According to Sánchez, smoking can harm the heart in several ways. One is that nicotine increases the amount of adrenaline, which can lead to blood vessel constriction and decreased blood flow to the heart. Smoking also increases blood clotting factors, which can raise the chance of blood vessel blockage. In addition, the hemoglobin in smokers' blood has carbon monoxide attached to it and can't carry as much oxygen. Both smokers and former smokers have more atherosclerosis in the blood vessels of the heart that lower the oxygen level.

Any of these factors can result in an imbalance of oxygen supply compared to oxygen needed by the heart. This oxygen deficiency predisposes the heart to dangerous rhythms.

‘Smoking is obviously hard to quit,’ Sánchez says. ‘Heart patients know it's harmful, yet a good percentage of them continue to smoke. It's clear that quitting should be advocated for a whole myriad of reasons, and our study reveals another.’

Soure: Eurekalert
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