APR 16, 2018 9:10 AM PDT

Smoking and Heart Failure in African Americans

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker

Frequent smoking habits greatly increase the risk of heart failure for African Americans, compared to those who never smoke. This is the finding of a new study from experts at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Experts from the CDC say that cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States.

Senior author Michael E. Hall points out that while scientists in the past have focused studies on smoking and atherosclerosis, the present study fills a gap in the research on smoking and heart failure. "With increasing rates of heart failure, particularly among African Americans, we wanted to look at the link between smoking and heart failure,” Hall said.

What is heart failure? A condition of the heart muscle characterized by its inability to pump an adequate amount of blood to the body’s tissues, which need oxygen and nutrients to function optimally. Someone with heart failure often experiences fatigue and shortness of breath, making everyday activities difficult. Heart failure can be treated with drugs and lifestyle changes, such as smoking cessation, but these therapeutic approaches won’t cure it.

In their study, researchers recruited 4,129 participants from the Jackson Heart Study, with an average age of 54. None of the participants had heart failure or arterial hardening at the beginning of the study, but after following the participants for a medium time of eight years, there were 147 hospitalizations for heart failure. 2,884 people from the study never smoked, 503 were current smokers, and 742 were former smokers.

Not surprisingly, hospitalization was three times more likely for current smokers, particularly for smokers who smoked at least a pack a day. Hospitalization was twice as likely for participants with a smoking history equivalent to smoking a pack a day for 15 years.

Researchers also found a link between current smoking and a larger left ventricle, the main chamber in the heart designated for pumping blood. Left ventricle enlargements is an early sign of impending heart failure.

The authors note that they controlled for high blood pressure, diabetes, body mass, and other factors known to increase the risk of heart disease before they diagnosed the risk of heart failure connected with smoking.

“The study clearly underscores the harms of smoking and the benefits of quitting," Hall said. “As healthcare professionals, we would recommend that all patients quit smoking anyway, but the message should be made even more forcefully to patients at higher risk of heart failure."

The present study was published in the journal Circulation.

Sources: American Heart Association (1), American Heart Association (2)

About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
JUL 07, 2020
Cardiology
Investigating New Ways to Diagnose a Heart of Bone
JUL 07, 2020
Investigating New Ways to Diagnose a Heart of Bone
Calcific aortic stenosis, or calcific aortic valve disease (CAVD), is a progressive cardiovascular disease where the aor ...
AUG 06, 2020
Cardiology
Identifying a Prognostic Biomarker for Neurological Deterioration After a Stroke
AUG 06, 2020
Identifying a Prognostic Biomarker for Neurological Deterioration After a Stroke
Strokes are life-changing events that can cause a myriad of issues even after it is over. Plenty of tests, such as the n ...
AUG 29, 2020
Cardiology
Protecting the Heart Against Damage from Mechanical Stress
AUG 29, 2020
Protecting the Heart Against Damage from Mechanical Stress
Heart failure is a traumatic event that can have long-lasting consequences. Often, after an adverse cardiac event, the h ...
AUG 26, 2020
Technology
Could a Selfie Be The Next Screening Tool for Heart Disease?
AUG 26, 2020
Could a Selfie Be The Next Screening Tool for Heart Disease?
We may soon live in a world where sending a selfie to your doctor can help with diagnosing heart disease—at least ...
SEP 15, 2020
Cardiology
Dopamine Could Cause Heart Arrhythmia After Heart Failure
SEP 15, 2020
Dopamine Could Cause Heart Arrhythmia After Heart Failure
Everyone knows that friend with a tattoo of a molecule of dopamine. Usually associated with the pleasure response, it is ...
SEP 23, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Hemp Seeds May Reduce Heart Disease Risk
SEP 23, 2020
Hemp Seeds May Reduce Heart Disease Risk
Heart disease is the leading cause of death around the world. And it seems that many methods to avoid it involve lifesty ...
Loading Comments...