Smoking cigarettes doubles risk of developing heart failure – long-term study

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The evidence is clear, smoking is detrimental to overall health. Smoking can increase a person’s risk of developing lung disease, cancer, and heart disease. New research from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has found it can also increase someone’s risk of heart failure. The study is believed to be one of the first to assess smoking’s association with the two dominant heart failure sub-types.

In order to come to their conclusion, researchers analysed records from a study of around 9,500 people in four American communities.

From this they ascertained even participants who stopped smoking were at an increased risk of heart failure.

The risk rose the longer someone smoked for.

Senior study author Kunihiro Matsushita said in a statement: “These findings underline the importance of preventing smoking in the first place, especially among children and young adults.”

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Matsushita added: “We hope our results will encourage current smokers to quit sooner rather than later, since the harm of smoking can last for as many as three decades.”

Matsushita’s comments highlight the dangers smoking poses even after someone has quit.

Heart failure forms part of the wide gamut of cardiovascular diseases.

It occurs when the heart loses its ability to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs.

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There are two types of heart failure, reduced ejection fraction and preserved ejection fraction.

Reduced ejection fraction is when the left ventricle of the heart fails to contract sufficiently when pumping blood outward.

Meanwhile, in preserved ejection fraction, the left ventricle fails to relax sufficiently after contracting.

Symptoms of heart failure include:
• Breathlessness
• Fatigue
• Swollen ankles and legs.

While heart disease is a major problem in the UK, there is hope for patients in the form of a new treatment.

Researchers have developed a biodegradable gel with the ability to repair damage caused by a heart attack.

The gel has been developed by the University of Manchester and has been described as a breakthrough in cardiovascular repair.

In a statement lead researcher Katharine King said: “We’re confident this gel will be an effective option for future cell-based therapies to help the damaged heart to regenerate.”

Professor James Leiper of the British Heart Foundation (BHF) added: “We’ve come so far in our ability to treat heart attacks and today more people than ever survive.

“However, this also means more people are surviving with damaged hearts and are at risk of developing heart failure.”

Professor Leiper said the new technology “harnesses the natural properties of peptides to potentially solve one of the problems that has hindered this type of therapy for years”.

Although the results are positive, more trials are required before the treatment becomes available on the NHS.

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