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Passive smoke ups heart disease risk

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Warning signs for cardiovascular disease are higher in people exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke, adding to the link between “passive smoke” and heart disease, according to a study released Monday.

“Our study provides further evidence to suggest low-level exposure to secondhand smoke has a clinically important effect on susceptibility to cardiovascular disease,” said Andrea Venn of University of Nottingham in England, lead author of the study.

“This is the first … study to relate the levels of these markers to an objective measure of secondhand smoke exposure, rather than self-reported exposure,” said Venn, an associate professor of epidemiology and public health.

The study, published this week in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, measured the level of cotinine in the blood of participants.

Cotinine is a major indicator of nicotine intake and hence exposure to tobacco smoke. The researchers also checked whether people exposed to secondhand smoke at home, work or other places had higher levels of fibrinogen, homocysteine and C-reactive protein all markers or indicators of cardiovascular disease.

It examined records from America’s third National Health And Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III, 1988-94), which included 7,599 adults who had never smoked.

Eighteen per cent of those surveyed from this group had no detectable levels of cotinine while the remainder had high or low levels. Eighteen per cent of those with low levels and 56% with high levels said they had lived with a smoker at home or had been exposed to secondhand smoke at work.

“Researchers found the low- and high-cotinine groups had significantly higher levels of fibrinogen and homocysteine than the ‘no detectable’ group,” the it said.

The raised levels of fibrinogen and homocysteine translate into a 5% increased disease risk though studies elsewhere have suggested that other factors can raise the disease risk from secondhand smoke by up to 30%.

Source:The Times Of India

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