Tags: Health Topics | Heart Disease | smoke | secondhand | cardiac arrest | heart health

Study: Secondhand Smoke Linked to Cardiac Arrhythmia

a driver grips the wheel with his right hand while holding a lit cigarette between his index and middle finger
(Clive Gee)

By    |   Monday, 07 January 2019 04:24 PM

We all know that cigarette smoking is bad for your health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cigarette smoking causes over 480,000 deaths each year, accounting for nearly one in every five deaths.

Now, a new study released by University of California Davis Health researchers reveals continuous indoor exposure to secondhand smoke triggers changes in the heart's electrical activity. This condition known as cardiac alternans is associated with increased risk of cardiac arrhythmia and sudden cardiac death.

The authors say the study, which was conducted in mice, suggests exposure to secondhand smoke affects the cells that regulate heart beats.

"Smoking is still the leading cause of preventable illness in the U.S. and bystanders are still exposed to smoking in cars, homes, casinos and when they travel to places with fewer tobacco-smoke protection," says lead researcher Crystal Ripplinger, associate professor of pharmacology at UC Davis Health. "It's important to continually define the health effects of those unintended exposures."

The study is the first to examine the effects of secondhand tobacco smoke and cellular changes in heart tissue, Ripplinger said. It also focuses on a condition other than coronary heart disease or CAD.

"The link between secondhand smoke and CAD is well established, but there is little or no research on how it influences cellular changes associated with arrhythmia, which may affect individuals with or without CAD," she said.

Dr. Gabe Mirkin, author of "The Healthy Heart Miracle," tells Newsmax it also has been well established breathing any kind of smoke can lead to other forms of tissue damage.

"That's why welders, painters, coal minors, glass blowers, fire fighters and anyone else breathing smoke is at increased risk for lung disease and heart attacks," he said. "Excessive exposure to any smoke can also damage nerves."

The researchers found the hearts of mice exposed to filtered air responded normally even under stress, but the hearts from mice exposed to secondhand smoke could not tolerate fast rates, especially after 12 weeks of exposure. They also found the calcium levels in these hearts did not respond quickly enough.

"The high incident of cardiac alternans is particularly concerning because we know that patients with this condition are at a significantly higher risk for arrhythmias and sudden death," Ripplinger said. "Better understanding of this underlying pathology and determining if these changes are reversible are important areas for future study."

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Continuous indoor exposure to secondhand smoke triggers changes in the heart's electrical activity, according to a University of California Davis Health research study.
smoke, secondhand, cardiac arrest, heart health
Monday, 07 January 2019 04:24 PM
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