Thursday, October 13, 2011

Smokers raise stroke risks

Sort of a "no kidding" moment from USA Today - a study shows smoking doubles risk for stroke:
"Stroke is preventable," said Dr. Mike Sharma, deputy director of the Canadian Stroke Network (CSN), in a CSN news release. "This study highlights the sizable role smoking has on stroke. Quitting smoking, controlling blood pressure, following a healthy diet and being physically active significantly reduce the risk of stroke."

In conducting the study, to be presented Monday at the Canadian Stroke Congress in Ottawa, researchers examined 982 stroke patients over roughly two years. The researchers found the average age of stroke victims who smoked was 58 -- nine years younger than the average age of the non-smokers.

Smoking causes atherosclerosis, a buildup of plaque inside the blood vessels, and increases the risk of blood clots. The study's authors said smokers have double the risk of a stroke caused by a dislodged blood clot (ischemic stroke) and four times the risk of a stroke caused by a ruptured blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke) than people who don't smoke.
I might quibble with Dr. Sharma - most strokes are preventable, I'd say, not all - but this study lays out some facts about something most of us already know: Smoking kills. In this case, smokers had strokes at a younger age. And one of the most serious findings is that the risk especially increases for the hemorrhagic stroke - the most deadly type.

(Photo from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

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