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Passive Smoking Linked to Lower Levels of Good Cholesterol

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women in the western world, and scientists led by Dr. Chi Le-Ha, of the University of Western Australia, found a significant link between passive smoking and reduced HDL levels in teen girls that may explain why.

The researchers reported that exposure to secondhand smoke at home appears to lower the levels of the HDL (good) cholesterol in teen girls. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is a substance that reduces heart disease risk. The study was recently published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

The study included more than 1,000 male and female participants, aged 17, who underwent blood tests to examine their HDL levels. While low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol can build-up and block blood vessels, HDL clears excess cholesterol from the bloodstream.

The investigators also looked into information about smoking activities in the teens’ households from the time before they were born, when their mothers were still pregnant. They found that 48% of the participants had been exposed to secondhand smoke at home.

The results showed that girls who were raised in households where passive smoking occurred were more likely to have lower HDL cholesterol levels. It did not have the same impact to the boys, suggesting that exposure to secondhand smoke may be more harmful to girls. This is a serious concern, according to Le-Ha since heart disease is the leading cause of death in women. She adds that there is a need to increase public health efforts to reduce children’s exposure to secondhand smoke in the home.

Source:

HealthDay News. Secondhand Smoke Tied to Lower ‘Good’ Cholesterol in Teen Girls. http://www.everydayhealth.com/publicsite/news/view.aspx?id=675831

Posted in: Cigarette Smoking, Heart Disease, News Briefs

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