Recent research developed by those at the Department of Medicine in the Southern Clinical School at Monash University in Clayton, Victoria, Australia, found stroke survivors who smoke are at a much higher risk of suffering from another stroke, heart attack or death, over those who never smoked.
"This research provides fresh incentive to quit smoking now or never start because it shows smokers fare far worse after strokes than non-smokers," said study author and professor at the university Dr. Amanda Thrift.
The researchers studied 1,589 patients who had a stroke between the years 1996 and 1999. They followed the individuals for 10 years, having them come in for in-person interviews while also keeping in touch via telephone and tracked their demographics.
The study authors found that those who smoked when they had their stroke had a 30 percent higher risk of having a worse outcome over those who did not smoke. Of those who were still alive 28 days after their stroke, current smokers had a 42 percent higher risk of health problems over those who did not smoke.
The results also illustrated that those who grew up in a disadvantaged neighborhood had a higher risk of smoking. The study showed 52 percent of people in worse areas were currently smoking during their stroke compared to 31 percent who never smoked and were from the same place. This is one area in which the researchers felt more awareness and intervention should take place.
"We also found smoking had its greatest impact on younger patients," Thrift said. "The people who smoked in our study were younger, more often male, and more often from a disadvantaged background. Although we want everyone to give up smoking, targeting this group could yield greater benefits with fewer dollars spent."
According to the National Stroke Foundation, about 795,000 strokes will occur this year, translating to someone having a stroke every 40 seconds. Strokes are a brain attack that causes blood flow to be cut off and eliminate oxygen from getting to the brain. Often times, stroke victims who survive are in need of home health care. Any research to reduce the chances of a patient suffering from another stroke is imperative.
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