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Strokes and Smokes: Lighting Up Darkens Outcomes

Article

Stroke survivors who smoke cigarettes are at higher risk for additional strokes, heart attacks, and death than those who never smoked, according to research reported by the American Heart Association.

Stroke survivors who smoke cigarettes are at higher risk for additional strokes, heart attacks, and death than those who never smoked, according to research reported by the American Heart Association (AHA). The risk of poorer outcomes is lower in those who quit smoking before their stroke than in current smokers.

Australian researchers tracked 1589 patients who experienced a first or recurrent stroke for 10 years. Their results included the following:

+ The risk of poor outcomes was 30% higher in patients who smoked when they had a stroke than in those who never smoked.

+ Among patients who survived the first 28 days after they had a stroke, the risk of poorer outcomes was 42% higher in current smokers.

+ The risk of poorer outcomes was 18% higher in ex-smokers than in those who never smoked.

+ Among patients who survived the first 28 days after stroke, the risk of poorer outcomes during the 10 years was 23% higher than in past smokers.

Patients in the study who lived in disadvantaged areas were much more likely to smoke. Also, smoking had its greatest impact on younger patients. The study, “Baseline Smoking Status and the Long-Term Risk of Death or Nonfatal Vascular Event in People with Stroke: A 10-Year Survival Analysis,” focused on patients who survived ischemic stroke. It appeared in Stroke, an AHA journal.

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