Tuesday August 21, 2018

This Way Tobacco Smoke Can Affect Your Heart

Moreover, chain smoking might also decrease the sperm's ability to fertilise eggs

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This Way Tobacco Smoke Can Affect Your Heart
This Way Tobacco Smoke Can Affect Your Heart. Pixabay
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While the popular belief is that smoking largely affects the lungs because they get directly exposed to inhaled smoke, health experts warn that it also impacts the entire cardiovascular system.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), smoking tobacco is globally the second leading cause of heart diseases after high blood pressure. Nearly 12 per cent of cardiovascular deaths worldwide occur due to tobacco abuse and secondhand smoking.

In tobacco cigarette, there is combustion, a burning of an organic material that generates temperatures up to 900 degree Celsius. Chronic exposure to this tends to thicken blood vessels, making them weaker in the long run. This can lead to blood clots and ultimately result in stroke or peripheral heart diseases.

“Inhaling the smoke from tobacco builds fatty material — atheroma — in the heart of the smoker which then damages the inner lining of arteries and also narrows them further,” Tapan Ghose, Director & HOD, Cardiology at Fortis Flt. Lt. Rajan Dhall Hospital, told IANS.

“This narrowing can cause the angina, stroke or heart attack,” he added.

Further, the presence of nicotine in the cigarettes raises the blood pressure, which can have a detrimental effect on the heart’s oxygen balance.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

“Nicotine causes thickening of the blood vessels, which hampers the blood flow and also causes high blood pressure or hypertension,” Mukesh Goel, Senior Consultant, Cardio Thoracic & Vascular Surgery at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, told IANS.

Tobacco also has carbon monoxide, which blends with haemoglobin in the blood more easily than oxygen does, thus affecting the oxygen supply in the body.

The carbon monoxide prevents the blood system from effectively carrying oxygen around the body, specifically to vital organs such as the heart and brain, the experts said, adding that apart from regular smokers, those who inhale the smoke passively may also be at risk.

WHO states that of the seven million lives that tobacco claims worldwide each year, almost 900,000 are passive-smokers.

Tobacco, whether smoked, swallowed, or chewed poses multiple hazards. In addition to affecting the lungs and heart, it also increases the risk of head and neck, lung, esophageal, pancreatic, and urologic cancers.

According to a recent study published in The Journal of Physiology, smoking could directly damage the muscles by reducing the number of blood vessels in leg muscles, which in turn reduce the amount of oxygen and nutrients the muscles receive.

This may impact the metabolism and activity levels.

Moreover, smoking also affects both male and female fertility, doctors said.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

“Women smoking tobacco reduce their chances of conceiving by at least 60 per cent and is also linked to ectopic pregnancy and other tubal factor infertility,” Sagarika Aggarwal, an IVF expert at Indira IVF Hospital, New Delhi, told IANS.

On the other hand, male smokers can suffer from decreased sperm quality with lower mobility and increased numbers of abnormally-shaped sperms.

Moreover, chain smoking might also decrease the sperm’s ability to fertilise eggs.

Besides causing infertility, tobacco during pregnancy can also lead to multiple issues ranging from miscarriage to under-development of the foetus and making the child susceptible to various forms of disorder such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Goel noted.

Quitting is the best way, the experts said while discouraging the use of alternatives like e-cigarettes.

“While it is true that e-cigarettes have less quantity of tobacco as compared to regular cigarettes, bidis or hookah, but they also expose lungs, heart and other organs to very high levels of toxic substances,” Goel said.

Also Read: U.S. Tobacco Companies Must Put New Warnings on Packaging, Court Says

Other measures like clinical interventions, counselling and behavioural therapies can help people quit tobacco abuse.

“Nicotine replacement therapy, including nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, inhalers etc, has been found to be effective. Combination therapy with drugs like bupropion has been found to be more effective than nicotine replacement alone,” said Viveka Kumar, Senior Director, Max Heart & Vascular Institute, Saket.

Kumar also emphasised on the role of mass media in spreading awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco, while curbing the easy access to tobacco, especially among the younger vulnerable population.

“Availability and accessibility of smoking cessation programmes to smokers who want to stop smoking remains an area which needs to be addressed,” Kumar said. (IANS)

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New AI Model to Identify the Risk of Heart Disease in Indians

Besides Apollo, Microsoft is also planning to extend the AI model to other healthcare providers

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Novel Microsoft-Apollo AI model to predict heart disease risk for Indians. Pixabay

In a novel effort to predict the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) among the Indian population, Microsoft India and Apollo Hospitals on Friday launched the first-ever Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered heart disease risk score API (application programme interface).

Part of Microsoft’s “AI Network for Healthcare” initiative, it will help doctors across the Apollo network of hospitals leverage the AI-powered API to predict risk of CVD and drive preventive cardiac care across the country.

Nearly three million heart attacks happen in India every year and 30 million Indians suffer from coronary diseases. However, even with various heart disease risk models available worldwide, doctors and cardiologists are unable to identify the probability of CVD in Indians.

“The AI-based models available worldwide were formed decades ago and are based on the western population. Our new API score is based on the data of 4,000 Indians shared by Apollo Hospitals and can easily identify the level of risk each patient has,” Anil Bhansali, Managing Director, Microsoft India (R&D), told IANS.

“We come in as a technology partner or expert in the AI domain, where we collaborate with healthcare providers and doctors to integrate data to help build the AI model,” Bhansali added.

Built on Microsoft’s Cloud computing platform Azure, the new AI-based heart risk score helps gauge a patient’s risk for heart disease and provides rich insights to doctors on treatment plans and early diagnosis.

The API score considers 21 risk factors including lifestyle attributes such as diet, tobacco and smoking preferences and physical activity as well as psychological stress and anxiety as reflected via rate of respiration, hypertension and systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

“The score categorises risk into high, moderate and minimal and also provides insights on the top modifiable risk contributors, thereby assisting physicians to consult patients in a more holistic way, while providing insights to patients for lifestyle modification and timely interventions,” Bhansali elaborated.

heart disease
Representational image. (IANS)

When a patient goes for a cardio health check, the doctor can build up a more accurate cardio-vascular health profile of the patient based on Machine Learning (ML) of all their previous patient data.

AI can, in turn, predict future coronary ailments the patient might experience in the next 10 to 20 years based on these multiple factors.

“This heart risk score for Indian populace is a true example of how precision healthcare can accelerate prevention of cardio-vascular disease and reduce disease burden,” Bhansali noted.

According to Sangita Reddy, Joint Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals, the partnership is aimed at designing new tools and equip doctors in the fight against non-communicable diseases.

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“The amalgamation of AI and ML with the global expertise of our doctors will help prevent heart disease, save lives and ensure those with heart disease can make informed choices on their health,” Reddy said in a statement.

Besides Apollo, Microsoft is also planning to extend the AI model to other healthcare providers.

“While we are currently working with Apollo, we are also in the process of identifying partners where we can actually try this API score,” Bhansali told IANS.

“In the last couple of years we have been working on how Cloud technology, particularly AI, can help in reducing the overall disease burden. Our first step towards this, as part of the healthcare partnership, is developing the cardiac risk score for Indian population,” Bhansali added. (IANS)