The Guardian
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Smoking thickens heart’s walls, reduces function




There are already numerous reasons to quit smoking, but a study published this week provides yet another. According to the results, published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging, smoking thickens the heart wall, reducing pumping ability.

Smoking is a major preventable cause of cardiovascular disease. It has been established that smoking tobacco leads to an increased risk of heart failure, even in individuals without cardiovascular disease. However, the mechanism by which tobacco damages the heart and causes cardiovascular events has not been found.

Imaging studies examining changes in heart structure associated with smoking have been carried out; however, to date, the results have been conflicting.

Some researchers have found an association with an increase in the mass of the heart’s left ventricle; others found no change and others still found a reduction in mass.

The left ventricle is of particular interest to tobacco researchers because it is a vital player in the pumping system of the heart. The left ventricle’s wall is predominantly made of muscle, so, like any muscle, it increases in size in response to being worked harder.

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