A new study shows that smoking up to 10 cigarettes per day can double the risk of subarachnoid hemorrhage, and the danger is even greater for women.
The research involved 65,000 individuals from Finland that had been monitored over an average period of 21 years, as part of the National FINRISK Surveys.
The medical data included self-assessment reports of smoking habits and socioeconomic status, and the clinical measurements listed height, weight, cholesterol and blood pressure.
Light smokers were people who smoked up to 10 cigarettes each day, and heavy smokers were those that consumed 30 cigarettes daily.
Individuals who quit smoking in less than six months time before the beginning of the survey were categorized as recent quitters, and the others were listed down as being former smokers.
Brain Hemorrhage in Smokers
By the end of the monitoring period, 492 subarachnoid hemorrhages occurred in the group, out of which 54% happened to women.
The average risk for brain hemorrhage in smokers was calculated to be 31%, with women having an incidence estimated at 3.43 and men at only 2.20.
The study did not take into consideration other factors such as alcohol consumption, hypercholesterolemia, or hypertension.
A second fact that must be acknowledged is that Finland has an exceptionally high rate of subarachnoid hemorrhage, which means that the calculated risk may be lower in other countries.
The conclusion was that men and women who were light smokers were up to two times more prone to get a brain hemorrhage. The risk for heavy smokers was even greater, as they were found to be three times more at risk than the non-smokers.
The medical explanation is that smoking weakens the artery walls that can later lead to a rupture of an aneurysm and produce subarachnoid hemorrhage.
Women are More Vulnerable to Smoking
The group of women participating in the study showed a risk even higher than the one of the heavy smokers. It seems that even ten cigarettes per day can increase the occurrence of brain hemorrhage for human, making light smoking for women just as dangerous as heavy smoking is in men.
The researchers believe that women are more vulnerable to smoking, which leads them to have a higher rate of brain hemorrhage events.
Another conclusion of the study was that people who were former smokers reverted to the non-smoker incidence of a brain hemorrhage. The information encouraged researchers to advise the public to quit smoking, as the benefits may be more significant than it was believed.
The authors of the study comment that smoking can lead to numerous health-related effects, and thus it would be better if people would not smoke in the first place. On the other hand, quitting can offer the body a chance to get back to normal and to revert the physiological effects of smoking.
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