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Cases of Glaucoma show a rising trend in India, can be caused by Smoking: Doctors

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A patient suffering from Glaucoma, VOA

New Delhi, March 19, 2017: As cases of glaucoma show a rising trend in India, ophthalmologists blame smoking as one of the major reasons behind it.

Besides glaucoma, several other eye diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), can also be caused or aggravated due to smoking, but only 10-20 per cent people are aware of these facts, they said.

Stating that lifestyle matters a lot for eye-related diseases, the doctors said research papers have proved that smoking increases the risk of AMD and glaucoma.

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“Smoking is very much connected to age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataract, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and dry eye syndrome,” Kamal B. Kapur, from Sharp Sight Group of Eye Hospitals, told IANS.

Kapur said that people who do not smoke, but become passive smokers, also are prone to develop AMD.

Glaucoma is a disease that damages eye’s optic nerve, while AMD causes loss in the centre of the field of vision. In dry macular degeneration, the centre of the retina deteriorates. With wet macular degeneration, leaky blood vessels grow under the retina.

AMD begins as a loss of central vision which makes it difficult to read and see fine details. Over time, vision loss increases significantly.

Mahipal Sachdev, Chairperson and Managing Director of city-based Centre for Sight, said: “Vision loss due to smoking does not have any symptoms like many other eye diseases, but a dilated examination can detect eye diseases in their early stages before vision loss occurs.”

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Some other types of eye-related problems caused by excessive smoking include cataract.

“People, who smoke in excess like 10 cigarettes a day, have up to three times the risk of cataract as non-smokers. Similarly, there is a strong nexus between glaucoma and smoking,” said Sachdev.

The doctors said that there is a special need for awareness among people about the strong link between smoking and vision loss.

“In the first place, smoking has to be brought down, which actually leads to the damage of not just lungs and throat but gradually, the eye nerves also get damaged,” said Samir Sud, a city-based ophthalmologist.

Talking about the dietary habits, he said that nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and vitamins C and E might help ward off age-related vision problems such as macular degeneration and cataract due to smoking. (IANS)

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Smoking May Increase Risk of Developing Hypertension, Warn Researchers

The results were published in the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology

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FILE - New findings show that smoking causes devastating genetic damage, or mutations, in the cells of various organs in the body. VOA

Smoking may increase the risk of developing hypertension by impairing the body’s blood pressure autocorrect system, warn researchers.

“The human body has a buffering system that continuously monitors and maintains a healthy blood pressure. If blood pressure drops, a response called muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) is triggered to bring blood pressure back up to normal levels,” said Lawrence Sinoway from Penn State University in the US.

An additional system — called the baroreflex — helps correct if blood pressure gets too high, he added.

According to Sinoway, the study found that after a burst of MSNA, the rise in blood pressure in a chronic smoker was about twice as great as in a non-smoker, pushing blood pressure to unhealthy levels. The researchers suspect that impairment of baroreflex may be the culprit.

“When the sympathetic nervous system fires, like with MSNA, your blood pressure rises and then a series of things happen to buffer that increase, to try to attenuate it,” Sinoway said.

“We think that in smokers, that buffering — the baroreflex — is impaired.”

Other than chronic diseases, lifestyle habits like smoking causes cancer too. Pixabay
Other than chronic diseases, lifestyle habits like smoking causes cancer too. Pixabay

The results suggest that this impairment may be connected to hypertension, said Jian Cui, Associate Professor at Penn State College of Medicine.

“The greater rise in blood pressure in response to MSNA may contribute to a higher resting blood pressure level in smokers without hypertension,” Cui said.

“It’s possible that this higher response to MSNA could also contribute to the eventual development of hypertension,” Cui added.

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The researchers said that while previous research has found a link between chronic smokers and higher levels of MSNA bursts, less was known about what happened to blood pressure after these bursts.

For the study, the researchers examined 60 participants — 18 smokers and 42 non-smokers. None of the participants had hypertension.

The results were published in the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. (IANS)