Greater risks found among stroke survivors that smoke in comparison to stroke survivors who have never lit up and smoker who quit before their stroke had less risk of negative outcomes according to a new study.View slideshow: Recurrernt stroke prevention
World-wide stroke is the second leading cause of death and is the number three cause of death in the United States. More than 700,000 Americans will suffer a stroke each year; 500,000 of these are first attacks and 200,000 are recurrent attacks. More than four million American’s have survived a stroke or brain attack and are living the after-effects according to The University Hospital.
Dr. Amanda Thrift, PhD, professor , Head of the Epidemiology and Prevention Division, Stroke and Aging Research, Southern Clinical School, Medicine, Monash University, lead researcher along with colleagues examined smoking in which may increase the risk of death or further vascular events among those who had a stroke due to lack of data in this area.
Researchers in Melbourne had recruited 1,589 stroke survivors between 1996 and 1999 in which both hospital and non-hospital cases were included. Researchers examined the occurrence of all deaths, recurrent strokes and heart attacks over a span of ten years.
Researchers found in comparison to those who never smoked, smokers who suffered a stroke had a 30% higher risk death, additional strokes or heart attack. Among those who survived the first 28 days after stroke, current smokers had a 42% higher risk of poorer outcomes while former smokers had showed an 18% higher risk.
The study concentrated on patients who had survived ischemic stroke, the most common type of stroke. Ischemic stroke occurs when an artery that supplies the brain is greatly narrowed or blocked or when small pieces of plaque or blood clot (called emboli) break off into the bloodstream.
In their conclusion researchers write “patients who smoked at the time of their stroke or had smoked before their stroke had greater risk of death or recurrent vascular events when compared with patients who were never smokers. There are benefits of smoking cessation, with ex-smokers appearing to have a lesser risk of recurrent vascular events than current smokers.”
Dr. Thrift stated "We also found smoking had its greatest impact on younger patients.” "The people who smoked in our study were younger, more often male, and more often from a disadvantaged background. Although we want everyone to give up smoking, targeting this group could yield greater benefits with fewer dollars spent."
In the study, those living in disadvantaged areas were much more likely to smoke, with 52 percent of current smokers belonging to the most disadvantaged group, compared to 31 percent of those who never smoked.
This study is published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke.
According to the National Stroke Association the following stroke symptoms include:
SUDDEN numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg - especially on one side of the body.
SUDDEN confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
SUDDEN trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
SUDDEN trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
SUDDEN severe headache with no known cause.
Call 9-1-1 immediately if you have any of these symptoms