A brain aneurysm is a bulge that develops in a weak artery, causing blood to leak into the brain if that aneurysm bursts. A person only has about a 50 percent chance of surviving if that happens, and many of the people who do survive end up with a permanent disability from this horrible brain injury.
A study that was recently published in the Journal of Neurology and Psychiatry showed that smoking can actually double a person’s chance of suffering a burst aneurysm. The researchers documented 426 cases of brain bleed from 33 hospitals across Kenya. They also took information about each patient’s age, lifestyle and family history.
According to Science Daily, the researchers additionally obtained information from 426 other people who had not suffered a brain bleed. Both sets of data were collected between 2002 and 2004. The researchers found that 38 percent of the patients who had suffered a brain bleed were smokers. Only 24 percent of people in the comparison group were smokers.
Salt intake, working hours, weight, family history of diabetes are some of the other factors that can increase a person’s chance of suffering an aneurysm. After the researchers took those factors into consideration, they found that smokers are nearly three times as likely to suffer a brain bleed. The risk of suffering an aneurysm increases for as long as a person continues to smoke.
The good news is that people who stop smoking can reduce their risk of suffering a burst aneurysm by up to 59 percent within five years. This is equivalent to a non-smoker’s risk. However, people who smoked 20 or more cigarettes per day were still twice as likely to suffer a burst aneurysm.
Previous studies have suggested that a smoker’s chance of suffering a burst aneurysm disappears 10-15 years after he or she stops smoking. However, most of these studies either only included one gender or did not include enough people to draw an accurate conclusion.
The researchers concluded the study by saying that smoking causes lasting changes inside of the artery walls. They also stated that these changes may be greater in people who smoke heavily.
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