Smoking over twenty cigarettes a day could triple the odds of suffering a brain haemorrhage, found a Korean study. The interim smoking thickens the blood and raises blood pressure, both of which could increase the risk of brain bleed. However, long-term smoking also led to permanent changes to the structure of arteries walls that could be more articulated heavy smokers.
Researchers from Seoul National University Hospital examined the cases of SAH (subarachnoid haemorrhage) between 2002 and 2004. An SAH occurs when a bulge in a weakened artery, called an aneurysm, bursts in the brain. The chances of survival for victims of SAH are only about fifty percent, and victims who live often face a lifetime disability.
The research team investigated more than four hundred cases of subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH), which were compared with a similar number of people matched for age and sex who had not underwent a brain bleed. They found people who smoked were more prone to have suffered an SAH in comparison to non-smokers. The more people smoked the more at risk they were.
After considering other aspects such as weight, family history of diabetes and salt intake , researchers found smokers were on average three times more likely to have brain haemorrhage as non-smokers. Quitting for about five years dramatically reduced the overall risk to sixty percent.
But people who smoked more than twenty cigarettes day were still two-an-half times more likely to have An SAH compared to those who never smoked. Earlier long term study has designated that the risk of an aneurysm in former smokers disappears after ten to fifteen years.
Lead researcher Dr Chi Kyung Kim, explained they have demonstrated that cigarette smoking increases the risk of SAH, but smoking cessation decreases the risk in a time dependent manner, although this beneficial effect may be diminished in heavy smokers. To forestall tragic SAH events, their results call for more global and vigorous efforts for people to stop smoking.
The study findings were published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.