Sunday, 11 Jan, 2009 Health & Fitness

Cigarette Smoke Changes Heart's Shape


American biologists have determined that cigarette smoke influences the cell division in the cardiac muscle and changes heart's shape.

Previous experiments have proved that smoke from one cigarette increases all of a sudden the normal quantity of corticosteroids, and also the quantities of adrenalin and noradrenalin. These biological active substances enhance the heart rate, increase the cardiac volume by raising the blood pressure and by intensifying the speed of myocardial contractions.

The heart of a smoker makes 12-15 thousand contractions more than the heart of a non-smoker does, which leads to a hyperfunction of the cardiac muscle. In the same time the heart is not saturated with the necessary quantity of oxygen because of the constricted vessels of the smoker. Moreover, 10 percent of the blood hemoglobin is excluded from the respiratory process by adding molecules of carbon dioxide.

Cigarette smoke contains not only nicotine, but also other 4.000 chemical components, whose effects are still not clear.

Scientists have studied thoroughly the effect of the cigarette smoke on the heart of rats. A group of animals had been breathing air mixed with cigarette smoke for 5 weeks, another group of rats had been breathing normal air. At the end of the experiment the rats were examined by the means of echocardiography and microscopy, and were also taken analysis on the enzyme content in the cardiac tissue.

The rats from the first group were found to have a modified shape of the left ventricle – the main blood pump in the cardiac muscle. An active form of enzyme, controlling the cardiac muscle cell division was also determined in the "smoking" rats. Another change in them was the increased level of norepinephrine, a hormone which takes part in the blood pressure and peripheral vascular resistance regulation. This hormone is also responsible for dealing with stress.

The article published in the European Journal of Heart Failure also mentions other dangerous biochemical changes in the heart under the influence of cigarette smoke.

Posted by summer_rain

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