Secondhand smoke at home affects toddlers' heart health the most

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Washington, Mar 14 : If you want your baby to grow up ealthy, then you need to stop smoking at home, warns a new study hich found that secondhand smoke at home appears to induce arkers for heart disease as early as the toddler years.

The study was carried out by researchers at Nationwide Children's ospital and Research Institute in Columbus, Ohio, and is the irst that shows that a young kid's response to smoke may not nly affect his or her respiratory system, but also the ardiovascular system.

As a part of the study, boffins led by Dr. Judith Groner analysed 28 children between they age of 2 to 5 years old and adolescents etween the age of 9 to 14.

They found that kids from the younger age group absorb six times ore nicotine than their older counterparts from the same levels f parental smoking.

This exposure is what results in a dramatic increase of marker of nflammation soluble intracellular adhesion molecules (ICAM) and ascular injury signalling damage to the endothelium, the inner ining of the vessel walls that plays a key role in promoting ardiovascular health by maintaining the tone and circulation of he arteries.

ICAM is a specific marker of endothelial cell stress, which ontributes to artery clogging and atherosclerosis, raising the isk of heart disease.

"Toddlers in the homes of smokers not only had higher levels of icotine, but also had higher levels of markers for ardiovascular disease in the blood," said John Bauer, Ph.D., enior author of the study and director of the Center for ardiovascular Medicine at Nationwide Children's Hospital and esearch Institute in Columbus, Ohio.

"The dose of smoke is greater in toddlers than adolescents who re able to move in and out of the home. Toddlers are like a fish n a fishbowl. They are exposed at a higher dose. And it appears hat toddlers also are more susceptible to the cardiovascular ffects of smoke."

Dr Groner added: "When we analyzed our data by looking at the elationships between the number of smokers in the home and the PC levels, we found that in toddlers, there was an inverse elationship between secondhand smoke exposure and EPC revalence. In other words, the more smokers the toddler was xposed to, the fewer EPC cells were circulating in his loodstream. This relationship was not present among the dolescents."

"The combustion of the cigarettes appears to be causing ndothelial damage which is reflected in the increase in soluble CAM in exposed children. Toddlers who are in the vicinity of mokers in the home have a higher dose of tobacco chemicals. They ive at home and can't escape. Young children also breathe aster, taking more smoke into their respiratory system."

Dr Groner added that more study was needed in this field.

"The results are intriguing, but further study is needed. We're ot sure what happens to kids if they stay in a smoking nvironment or if they have multiple risk factors such as being verweight or having high blood pressure. Until then, parents and thers should not smoke in homes with children, and should be specially attentive to this issue around toddlers," she said.

The study was presented at the American Heart Association's 48th nnual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and revention.

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