Valentine’s Day, the day of hearts, has passed but taking care of your own heart should be a year round priority because heart disease is a leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Genetics may play a role in determining your risk, but not controlling your blood pressure or cholesterol can increase those risks. Other factors include diabetes, overweight and obesity, poor diet, physical inactivity and excess alcohol use, according to the CDC. One of the biggest lifestyle choices you can control is your choice to smoke, which by itself is a major factor in heart disease. Many smokers, and even nonsmokers, are turning to electronic cigarettes because they were told they were safer, but a new study found they may be just as bad for your heart.
E-cigarettes may not have all the chemicals of cigarettes, but researchers found users had “increased levels of adrenaline in their hearts, and inflammation and oxidative stress (a process that can damage cells)” in their bodies, versus non-users. They also contain some “heart-related toxins present in tobacco smoke, including formaldehyde and acetone.” And let us not forget they also contain nicotine which affects blood pressure and heart rate.
A small study was conducted with 16 e-cigarette users who had been using e-cigarettes for at least one year and at the time did not smoke cigarettes. A group of 18 nonusers were also involved in the study. The age range of the men and women were between 21 to 45. The researchers used blood tests to look “at markers of oxidative stress and inflammation” in the body.
The researchers did say the study was quite small and they “cannot confirm a cause-effect relationship between e-cigarette use and cardiovascular risk based on this single study.” But they urge more research on this subject. And their final conclusion? “If you don’t already smoke tobacco cigarettes, don’t start using e-cigarettes –they are not harmless.”
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