Tobacco May Explain Premature Aging of the Heart

The study, which includes a Portuguese researcher among the authors, looked at 1,500 smokers, ex-smokers and people who had never smoked.

A study that brought together researchers from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto (FMUP) and the University of Lorraine in France, concluded that smoking may be responsible for the aging of the heart around the age of 20.

“Cellular damage induced by smoking and the inflammatory immune response are two possible mechanisms that explain premature aging [of the heart] and the higher incidence of chronic diseases in smokers,” said the researcher from FMUP’s Cardiovascular Research Unit. .

In statements to Agencia Lusa, João Pedro Ferreira, one of the authors of the study carried out with the citizens of Lorena, explained that it was found that “smokers, even if they are 20 years old, have a vascular age similar to that of a person who has 35 or 40 years.”

“And they had expression of proteins [known to initiate and facilitate the progression of atherosclerotic damage] in their blood that showed they had inflammation in the activation of inflammatory pathways. Some proteins associated with the development of certain cancers were activated. Therefore, he He concluded, tobacco itself creates an inflammatory profile in the blood, can damage blood vessels and create other diseases, as it causes minimal damage to cells over time.

The study involved testing more than 1,500 smokers, ex-smokers, and people who had never smoked. The sample included people between the ages of 18 and 70, and the majority were adults between the ages of 40 and 50.

“The researchers found that, despite being about 18 years younger, current smokers had similar levels of high blood pressure, diabetes, and vascular damage [cholesterol plaques and hardening of blood vessels] as older adults who had never smoked. “, says, in turn, as the information was sent to Lusa from FMUP.

João Pedro Ferreira indicated that cardiovascular damage was compared and that when it was found that the vessel was more rigid, it meant that it was less flexible and worked worse. He summed up: “Being more solid is like wear and tear and age.”

The researcher stressed that the cases studied were not “necessarily” patients, since it is a population study whose objective was to find out habits and lifestyles.

“This is an observational study. We look at the characteristics of people compared to others. We cannot conclude that there is a causal relationship. We cannot conclude that tobacco causes diabetes. What we can say is that there is a relationship between people who smoke and certain proteins that appear to indicate decreased glucose and sugar tolerance.

Finally, Joao Pedro Ferreira affirmed that “the group that effectively quit smoking had mitigating effects, but did not completely reverse them.”

He concluded by saying that “it is clear that it is good to quit smoking as soon as possible, but the study concluded that blood vessel damage that has already occurred in the past is improving, but not reversed,” noting that the study warns against that, “even if you feel that the person is satisfied, there is damage that occurs in the body silently and the damage can have consequences” such as heart attack or stroke, peripheral arterial disease, as well as cancer. lung, throat, or bladder.

According to WHO data, tobacco is responsible for more than six million deaths worldwide each year.

This study brings together João Pedro Ferreira and researchers Tripti Rastogi, Nicolas Gerard, Zahra Lamiral, Emmanuelle Briseau, Erwan Bouzik, Jean-Marc Boivin, Patrick Rossignol and Fayez Zanad.

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