The risk of smoking is well known, but a new study has found that secondhand smoke exposure increases stroke risk in unborn children, who might be affected later on in life.
- The study saw to nearly 5,000 online participants
- 12% of them suffered from atrial fibrillation, at an average age of 62 years old
- AFib increases the chances of suffering a stroke, heart failure, or chest pains
- Children who were exposed to cigarette smoke in the womb were 40% more likely to develop AFib
Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, have gathered and analyzed data from 4,976 adults in an online heart survey. They found that 12% of the participants suffered from atrial fibrillation (otherwise known as AF or AFib). It’s a common type of irregular heartbeat, which increases the risk of stroke or heart failure.
Atrial fibrillation essentially causes the upper and lower chamber within the heart to cease working together as they should. It’s an issue of the heart’s electrical system that results in the two chambers no longer working in sync.
Researchers dug deeper into the matter, and took account all possible factors that might cause the condition. This included sex, gender, race, health conditions, alcohol use, or smoking.
It has been a well established fact that smoking itself may lead to atrial fibrillation. However, the researchers found that the risks may be spreading to unborn children as well through secondhand smoking.
This is the first study that found a possible link between the vice and future heart problems for passive users. Secondhand smoke is said to possibly be one of the causes of atrial fibrillation later on in life. Unborn or young children exposed to cigarettes are reportedly 40% more likely to develop the dangerous condition as they grow into adults.
Out of the 12% who claimed to be suffering from AFib, the average age was of 62 years old, while those not afflicted had an average of 50 years of age. All other potential risk factors to aggravate the condition were eliminated for the purpose of the study. In fact, their lack seemed to increase their chances.
According to Dr. Cuno S.P.M Uiterwaal from Utrecht University, it seems that secondhand smoking may have a more pronounced impact on people who do not posses other risk factors. This should draw the attention and concerns of parents that even early-on exposure to cigarettes may have consequences later on in life for their children.
It’s an important aspect that should not be overlooked.
However, as admitted by Dr. Gregory Marcus from the university that conducted the survey, they can’t “definitely” say that secondhand smoke caused atrial fibrillation. It may just be one of the main factors, and further research needs to be done in order to confirm their findings.