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Smoking may Shorten the Lifespan of HIV Patients more than the Virus itself

Smoking is especially dangerous for people living with HIV, putting them at high risk for heart disease, cancer, serious lung diseases, and other infections

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Smoking. Pixabay

November 3, 2016: Among people living with HIV who smoke cigarettes, smoking may shorten their lifespan more than HIV itself, warns a study by an Indian-origin researcher.

“A person with HIV who consistently takes HIV medicines but smokes is much more likely to die of a smoking-related disease than of HIV itself,” explained study author Krishna P. Reddy of the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

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The study suggests that making smoking cessation a priority and finding effective ways to help people with HIV quit can significantly improve their lifespan.

“Now that HIV-specific medicines are so effective against the virus itself, we also need to add other interventions that could improve and extend the lives of people with HIV,” Reddy noted.

In their study, the researchers used a computer simulation of HIV disease and treatment to project the life expectancy of people living with HIV based on their smoking status.

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For men and women with HIV who adhere well to HIV medicines, the study, published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases, found that smoking reduces life expectancy by about twice as much as HIV.

“It is well-known that smoking is bad for health, but we demonstrate in this study just how bad it is,” Reddy said.

Smoking is especially dangerous for people living with HIV, putting them at high risk for heart disease, cancer, serious lung diseases, and other infections.

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“We actually quantify the risk, and I think providing those numbers to patients can help put their own risks from smoking in perspective,” Reddy noted. (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)