Massive Study Links Vaping to a Much Higher Risk of Heart Failure : ScienceAlert

In the summer of 2019, an epidemic hit America. More than 2,800 people have been hospitalized and 68 people have died, US health authorities reported. The most likely cause is a chemical found in some vapes that damages lung tissue, leaving people short of breath and coughing.

This explosion of lung damage has prompted researchers to investigate the health harms of vaping. Five years later, evidence from large, in-depth studies is steadily accumulating that e-cigarette use is linked to higher risks of respiratory illnesses, heart attacks and strokes.

Now, a new study presented last week at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Cardiology complements these results. Researchers found that people aged 18 and older who have used e-cigarettes at any time in their lives are 19% more likely to have heart failure than people who have never used them.

Unlike a sudden heart attack, heart failure is a slow weakening or stiffening of the heart, so much so that it has difficulty pumping blood throughout the body.

“More and more studies are linking e-cigarettes with harm and concluding that they may not be as safe as previously thought,” said Yakubu Bene-Alhasan, a physician and researcher at MedStar Health in Baltimore. , in a press release after presenting the results. . “The difference we saw was substantial.”

The prospective study, the largest of its kind exploring the link between e-cigarettes and heart failure, has not yet been peer-reviewed.

Bene-Alhasan and colleagues analyzed the health records of 175,667 U.S. adults involved in the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s All of Us research program. Of that sample, some 28,660 people reported ever using e-cigarettes, and 3,242 experienced heart failure during the nearly four years of median follow-up data collected.

People with prior heart failure recorded at the start of the study were excluded from the analysis and the researchers adjusted for age, gender and other factors linked to heart failure, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking. Status.

About 60 percent of participants were women, most were white, and the average age was 52 years old. Before that, large surveys typically focused on young adults, who had a relatively low frequency of heart attacks and strokes.

Compared to people who never vaped, former and current e-cigarette users had a 19% increased risk of heart failure, particularly the type where the heart muscle stiffens and doesn’t fill properly with blood. The researchers did not ask people how often they used e-cigarettes or what ingredients were in the vapes they used, such as nicotine or flavorings.

“It makes me worry that what we suspected about e-cigarettes is true, that they have harmful effects related to nicotine use,” Yu-Ming Ni, a cardiologist at MemorialCare Heart and Vascular Institute in California. , told Healthline.

We know that nicotine is highly addictive and that young people who vape are three times more likely to start smoking. There is also little evidence that nicotine e-cigarettes help people quit smoking.

Additionally, vapes labeled “nicotine-free” often contain this substance. Research shows that nicotine-free vapes can also damage lung tissue and blood vessels. The heart is the next stop after the lungs and bloodstream, but more research is needed to identify harmful compounds.

Among the 28,660 e-cigarette users, those who also reported smoking cigarettes saw their risk of heart failure rise to 59 percent compared to people who vaped but did not smoke.

However, Ni notes that this latest observational study can only point to associations between e-cigarette use and heart failure: “All we can say is that there is an association between these two things . »

Other researchers not involved in the work want to see future studies investigating how often people use e-cigarettes and the relative risk of heart failure with different levels of exposure.

“I think this research is long overdue, especially considering how much traction e-cigarettes have gained,” Bene-Alhasan said.

“With more research, we will be able to discover much more about the potential health consequences and improve public information.”

The results of the study are available in the Journal of the American College of Cardiologybut have not yet been peer-reviewed.

News Source :
Gn Health

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