Childhood Exposure to Secondhand Smoke Increases Risk of AFIB

December 8th, 2015 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized

The risks of exposure to secondhand smoke have been recognized for many years, but the extent to which people can be harmed is still a matter of debate. Children are more susceptible to smoke inhalation and therefore should be kept away from adults who are smoking. New research suggests that secondhand smoke exposure in childhood can increase one's risk for Atrial Fibrillation later in life.

Many seniors grew up in a world where the hazards of tobacco smoke were not yet well known. In their youth, it was common to be around smoking adults. If that was the case, what can older adults do now to mitigate the damage that was done so many years before? Thankfully, early exposure to cigarette smoke is by no means a sure prescription for heart problems, especially if care has been taken to engage in an active lifestyle.

New Research
A team of researchers led by Dr. Gregory Marcus of the University of California's Department of Medicine surveyed 4976 people concerning their exposure to secondhand smoke in early childhood. Of that number, nearly 12 percent reported having AFIB. The team found that having a mother who smoked during pregnancy or living with a parent who smoked increased the likelihood of having AFIB later in life, especially in those people who had no other significant risk factors. More research is necessary to confirm these findings - though it's enough to suggest that it's a good idea to keep children away from secondhand smoke.

Atrial Fibrillation
AFIB is a type of irregular heartbeat that feels like a quiver or flopping motion. It is found most often in older adults and can cause serious health problems. The Heart Rhythm Society reported that AFIB can lead to chronic fatigue and actually increase one's risk of stroke by five times. Check out this post for more information about the signs and symptoms of AFIB.

Secondhand Smoke Facts
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, secondhand tobacco smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals, 70 of which are known to cause cancer. It doesn't only negatively impact children, but can affect adults as well. Older adults are especially susceptible to the dangers of secondhand smoke. Exposure to exhaled smoke may cause damage to the heart and blood vessels of nonsmokers. 

Foods That Can Help Prevent AFIB
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, a diet that's low in trans fats can help prevent AFIB. Eating the food groups recommended by the Food and Drug Administration is another great way to reduce the risk of AFIB. A senior nutrition plan that aims to prevent AFIB should have at least six servings of whole grains each day. Having a side of brown rice or an appetizer of barley soup are two great ways to add more whole wheat to one's daily diet. Other dishes include whole wheat buns, cooked quinoa and cornmeal pancakes. The diet should also include four servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Replacing junk food with a piece of fruit is a great way incorporate healthy eating into your daily snacking.

Exercises that can prevent AFIB
Aerobic exercise is great for people who want to prevent AFIB. It's always important to talk with a medical professional before starting a new exercise regimen, but here are some great exercises to consider: vigorous walking, jogging, swimming, dancing and rowing. Even a little exercise every week can help seniors to stay active, but it's important not to exercise to the point of exhaustion.

Even if a person was exposed to secondhand smoke as a child, there are still ways they can prevent AFIB. By eating the right foods and getting the proper amount of exercise, older adults can stay fit.

Source: Sunrise Senior Living

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