Cigarette smoke, alcohol combo causes greatest degree of heart disease

November 22nd, 2007 - 1:08 pm ICT by admin  

Birmingham, Nov22 (ANI): While inhaling second-hand smoke is known to be bad for the heart, a new study has now revealed that the damage increases nearly 5-fold when you are drinking as well.

A research study conducted at University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) revealed that exposure to cigarette smoke combined with alcohol consumption cause the greatest degree of cardiovascular disease.

The study led by Scott Ballinger, associate professor in the UAB Department of Pathology disclosed that exposure to cigarette smoke and alcohol increases artery lesions.

Artery lesions are a common problem in heavy smokers and a key sign of advancing cardiovascular disease.

The study points to a greater need to understand the negative biological impact of single or multiple risky behaviours, and the compounding effect of environmental hazards such as second-hand smoke, said Scott Ballinger.

The research was conducted on mice exposed to smoky air and fed with a liquid diet containing ethanol, over five week period. The researchers found that the mice had a 4.7-fold increase in artery lesions compared to mice that breathed filtered air and ate a normal solid diet.

Our study shows that exposure to cigarette smoke when combined with alcohol consumption caused the greatest degree of cardiovascular disease development compared to either action or exposure alone, Ballinger added.

While measuring the artery lesions in the study the researchers also focussed on other signs of advancing cardiovascular disease like DNA damage and oxidative stress in key heart tissues.

Shannon Bailey, an associate professor in the UAB Department of Environmental Health Sciences and a co-investigator on the study stated that the findings would help the smokers and the non smokers to know what they should do and what they should not do.

Because moderate alcohol consumption is commonly thought to be cardioprotective, these findings are important for smokers and non-smokers alike in terms of what you should and should not do to protect their health, said Bailey.

The contributors to the study also include researchers at the Institute of Toxicology and Environmental Health at the University of California, Davis. Grant support came from the National Institutes of Health.

The findings are published in the journal Free Radical Biology & Medicine. (ANI)

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