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Secondhand Smoke Linked to Heart Failure

December 9, 2011

If you are suffering from any form of heart failure, you should try to stay away from people who smoke. Researchers have gathered new evidence showing that secondhand smoke is detrimental to your heart health.

In a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, 205 non-smokers who have heart failure were asked to complete questionnaires and tests that are related to their health conditions and lifestyles. The results revealed that those who breathed in secondhand smoke on a regular basis experience more physical and emotional problems that interfere with their day-to-day functioning.

Stop smoking for good heart healthDr. Kirsten E. Fleischmann from the University of California, San Francisco, who headed the study, said that people who have heart failure should try to avoid exposure to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke does not only increase their risk of experiencing cardiac problems, such as heart disease and heart attack; it can also have a negative effect on their quality of life.

Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently, and it can result in symptoms such as breathlessness, fatigue, and swelling in the limbs. It can develop due to a condition that causes damage to the heart muscle, such as high blood pressure or heart attack. According to the researchers, secondhand smoke can aggravate heart failure by worsening inflammation in the blood vessels and weakening blood vessel function.

One particular questionnaire asked questions about the subjects’ day-to-day physical and emotional well-being. About 25% of the subjects said that they breathed in secondhand smoke more than one hour every week, and they gained lower scores on measures of physical and emotional role, as well as emotional well-being. This means that they have more physical and emotional difficulties that prevent them from performing their daily activities.

If you have family members who smoke regularly, you should ask them not to smoke in your presence, or even better, stop smoking altogether.