Strokes hit smokers earlier than others

October 3rd, 2011 - 5:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Oct 3 (IANS) Not only are smokers twice as likely to have strokes, they are almost a decade younger than non-smokers when they have them.

Researchers studied 982 stroke patients (264 smokers and 718 non-smokers) between January 2009 and March 2011 at an Ottawa prevention clinic.

They found the average age of stroke patients who smoked was 58, compared to 67 years for non-smokers.

“The information from this study provides yet another important piece of evidence about the significance of helping people stop smoking,” said Andrew Pipe of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, study co-author.

Smoking causes a build-up of debris on the inside of blood vessels, a condition called atherosclerosis, and it contributes to a higher likelihood of clots forming, said Pipe, according to an Ottawa statement.

The Ottawa study, led by principal investigators Mike Sharma and Robert Reid, found smokers have double the risk of a stroke caused by a dislodged blood clot (ischemic stroke) and four times the risk of a stroke caused by a ruptured blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke) than the non-smoking population.

Besides, smokers have a greater chance of having more complications and recurrent strokes. Patients who have had a minor stroke are 10 times more likely to have a major stroke, especially if they continue to smoke, said Pipe.

“Stroke is preventable,” said Sharma, deputy director of the Canadian Stroke Network. “Quitting smoking, controlling blood pressure, following a healthy diet and being physically active significantly reduce the risk of stroke.”

These findings were presented at the Canadian Stroke Congress.

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