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Male Hearts Overwork Around Cigarette, Cooking Oil and Wood Smoke
By Daniel H. Rasolt
Posted: Friday, April 17, 2009
(Defeat Diabetes® News) -- Exposure to cigarette smoke and general pollutants is known to be connected to cardiovascular disease (CVD) in both men and women, but this connection was thought to only exist through long-term exposure. A recent study has shown that not only cigarette smoke, but cooking oil and wood smoke as well, intensifies male cardiovascular response, through short-term exposure.
Cigarette smoking, as well as long term second-hand smoke exposure, has been linked to a variety of ailments, cancer and CVD being the most dangerous and definitive. These past results have extended through all races and genders, and have sparked campaigns against long-term personal cigarette use, as well as the elimination of smoking in public places. Cigarette smoke is not the only common air pollutant that effects cardiovascular function however, as exhaust fumes and smoke from various byproducts, have been shown to effect cardiovascular health as well. The current study has gotten more specific, linking three common types of smoke to an over-working of the cardiovascular system in men, with similar observations through short and long-term exposure.
The current study was conducted on both men and women, who were exposed to either cigarette, cooking oil, or wood smoke, within a 10X10 foot "chamber," for varying amounts of time. 40 non-smokers (21 women, 19 men) of normal health, and average age of 35 years, participated in the study.
The effects on men and women following these exposures were strikingly different, noted by differences in their "sympathetic nervous system" response, which in this instance accounted for how heart and blood pressure, as well as respiration, were effected by the smokes. Men's heart and blood pressure responses were seen to be over-active, with both raised heart-beats and blood pressures, which could potentially cause permanent damage to the cardiovascular system. On the contrary, women's heart and blood pressure responses were slowed, likely limiting the amount of damage caused by exposure to these smokes short-term.
The above mentioned "sympathetic nervous system" characterizes a mechanism known to be triggered in times of stress, and it was this mechanism that was observed to be over-active in men. More specifically, blood pressure was significantly higher in peripheral arteries, which accompanied rapid heart-beat and respiration. These functions, if present for extended periods of time, or if they occur often, could lead to permanent arterial damage and eventual CVD, which includes heart attacks and strokes. This response was observed through exposure of as little as 10 minutes to all three types of smoke.
Two very significant conclusions and worries can be drawn from this study. One, that men are more at risk than women to short-term pollutant exposure, and two, that exposure of only minutes can have such a profound effect on someones cardiovascular system. Concludes researcher Joyce McClendon Evans, "I was surprised we got statistically significant results with this low level of exposure. If we can detect these effects with smaller exposures, then the public health hazard from cigarettes and other particulate exposures may have been underestimated.”
Source: Defeat Diabetes Foundation: Evans, Joyce McClendon. Krupa, Donna. The American Physiological Society news release. April 2009.
Daniel H. Rasolt writes for Defeat Diabetes® News. Read more of his original content articles.
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