Stroke ALERT: Smoking harms more than just your lungs, new study warns

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smoking-harms-more-than-just-lungs(NaturalHealth365)  Despite the encouraging trend of declining smoking rates, the harmful legacy of tobacco continues to cast a shadow over public health.  In fact, a new study published in EClinicalMedicine has recently revealed a troubling truth: the risks associated with smoking extend far beyond lung health.

While we’ve long known about the link between smoking and stroke, this research brings to light an even more alarming aspect – the danger extends even to those who are exposed to secondhand smoke as well.  It’s a stark reminder that the battle against tobacco’s grip on health is far from over.

Smoking raises stroke risk by 12.4% worldwide; even secondhand smoke isn’t safe

The study linked above reveals that globally, smoking increases the risk of stroke by 12.4%.  Moreover, the data also shows exposure to secondhand smoke also elevates stroke risk.  The silver lining to the study is that quitting smoking has the potential to quickly and significantly decrease the risk of a potential stroke.

The study involved participants at 142 centers in 32 countries.  Smoker analysis occurred between the winter of 2007 and the summer of 2015.  The study initially focused on those who experienced an acute stroke, as proven through neuroimaging.

Data was then collected using a questionnaire and a physical exam to gauge the extent of tobacco use and even exposure to secondhand smoke.  Study participant health history and physiological measurements were also noted before data analysis.

Smoking linked to heightened risk for MULTIPLE stroke types

The most interesting takeaway from the study is that smoking is tied to a greater risk for every variation of stroke, including etiological subtypes.  However, smoking was most strongly correlated with ischemic stroke.  Researchers also found a link between smoking and intracerebral hemorrhage, albeit a weak one.

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When breaking down tobacco use, study authors found filtered cigarettes, cigarettes without a filter, and even Asian cigarettes referred to as “beedies” were all linked to greater stroke risk.  Beedies are thin cigarettes commonly smoked in Asia.  Readers who take a deep dive into the study results will find the risk of ischemic stroke significantly increased with the number of cigarettes burned per day.

Alternatives to cigarettes for better health outcomes

Strokes account for 11.5% of deaths across the globe, equating to 5.5 million annual deaths.  Strokes also cause 116.4 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYs).  Though not every stroke is the result of tobacco use, it is becoming increasingly clear that smoking and exposure to smoke play a part in this unfortunate health outcome.

Keep nutritious snacks like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds readily available to combat cravings and maintain energy levels.  Staying hydrated with clean water, organic herbal teas, or infused water can also help curb the urge to smoke.

Instead of lighting another cigarette, consider chewing gum as a healthier alternative.  Choose gum that is low in sugar and free from the artificial sweetener aspartame, which provides a satisfying option without compromising health.

Practice mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, or progressive muscle relaxation to manage stress and cravings effectively.  These techniques enhance self-awareness and resilience, supporting long-term smoking cessation efforts.

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