Heavy smok­ing can dam­age vi­sion

Sun.Star Pampanga - - HEALTH! - - sci­encedaily

Smok­ing more than 20 cig­a­rettes a day can dam­age your vi­sion, a study coau­thored by a Rut­gers re­searcher finds.

The re­search ap­pears in the jour­nal Psy­chi­a­try Re­search.

The Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion es­ti­mates that 34.3 mil­lion adults in the United States cur­rently smoke cig­a­rettes and that more than 16 mil­lion live with a smok­ing-re­lated dis­ease, many of which af­fect the car­dio­vas­cu­lar sys­tem.

The study in­cluded 71 healthy peo­ple who smoked fewer than 15 cig­a­rettes in their lives and 63 who smoked more than 20 cig­a­rettes a day, were di­ag­nosed with to­bacco ad­dic­tion and re­ported no at­tempts to stop smok­ing. The par­tic­i­pants were be­tween the ages of 25 and 45 and had nor­mal or cor­rected-to-nor­mal vi­sion as mea­sured by stan­dard vis­ual acu­ity charts.

The re­searchers looked at how par­tic­i­pants dis­crim­i­nated con­trast lev­els (sub­tle dif­fer­ences in shad­ing) and col­ors while seated 59 inches from a 19inch cath­ode-ray tube mon­i­tor that dis­played stim­uli while re­searchers mon­i­tored both eyes si­mul­ta­ne­ously.

The find­ings in­di­cated sig­nif­i­cant changes in the smok­ers' red-green and blue-yel­low color vi­sion, which sug­gests that con­sum­ing sub­stances with neu­ro­toxic chem­i­cals, such as those in cig­a­rettes, may cause over­all color vi­sion loss. They also found that the heavy smok­ers had a re­duced abil­ity to dis­crim­i­nate con­trasts and col­ors when com­pared to the non-smok­ers.

"Ci­garette smoke con­sists of nu­mer­ous com­pounds that are harm­ful to health, and it has been linked to a re­duc­tion in the thick­ness of lay­ers in the brain, and to brain le­sions, in­volv­ing ar­eas such as the frontal lobe, which plays a role in vol­un­tary move­ment and con­trol of think­ing, and a de­crease in ac­tiv­ity in the area of the brain that pro­cesses vi­sion," said co-au­thor Steven Sil­ver­stein, direc­tor of re­search at Rut­gers Univer­sity Be­hav­ioral Health Care.

"Pre­vi­ous stud­ies have pointed to long-term smok­ing as dou­bling the risk for age-re­lated mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion and as a fac­tor caus­ing lens yel­low­ing and in­flam­ma­tion. Our re­sults in­di­cate that ex­ces­sive use of cig­a­rettes, or chronic ex­po­sure to their com­pounds, af­fects vis­ual dis­crim­i­na­tion, sup­port­ing the ex­is­tence of over­all deficits in vis­ual pro­cess­ing with to­bacco ad­dic­tion."

Although the re­search did not give a phys­i­o­log­i­cal ex­pla­na­tion for the re­sults, Sil­ver­stein said that since nico­tine and smok­ing harm the vas­cu­lar sys­tem, the study sug­gests they also dam­age blood ves­sels and neu­rons in the retina.

Sil­ver­stein said the find­ings also sug­gest that re­search into vis­ual pro­cess­ing im­pair­ments in other groups of peo­ple, such as those with schizophre­nia who of­ten smoke heav­ily, should take into ac­count their smok­ing rate or in­de­pen­dently ex­am­ine smok­ers ver­sus non-smok­ers. Pa­tients

re­ceiv­ing hor­mone ther­apy as part of their gen­der-tran­si­tion treat­ment had an el­e­vated risk for car­dio­vas­cu­lar events, in­clud­ing strokes, heart at­tacks and blood clots, ac­cord­ing to a study pub­lished in the Amer­i­can Heart As­so­ci­a­tion's jour­nal Cir­cu­la­tion.

The re­sults are based on anal­y­sis of med­i­cal records of 3,875 Dutch in­di­vid­u­als who re­ceived hor­mone treat­ment be­tween 1972and 2015 as part of their gen­der tran­si­tion.

"In light of our re­sults, we urge both physi­cians and trans­gen­der in­di­vid­u­als to be aware of this in­creased car­dio­vas­cu­lar risk," said study au­thor Nienke Nota, M.D., a re­searcher in the de­part­ment of en­docrinol­ogy at the Am­s­ter­dam Univer­sity Med­i­cal Cen­ter. "It may be help­ful to re­duce risk fac­tors by stop­ping smok­ing, ex­er­cis­ing, eat­ing a healthy diet and los­ing weight, if needed be­fore start­ing ther­apy, and clin­i­cians should con­tinue to eval­u­ate pa­tients on an on­go­ing ba­sis there­after."

Past re­search has shown that hor­mone ther­apy in­creases car­dio­vas­cu­lar risk among peo­ple re­ceiv­ing it to al­le­vi­ate symp­toms of menopause, yet re­search ev­i­dence re­mains scarce on the ef­fects of hor­mone treat­ment in peo­ple un­der­go­ing gen­der tran­si­tion. Even though such in­di­vid­u­als tend to be younger than menopausal pa­tients re­ceiv­ing hor­mone-re­place­ment ther­apy, trans­gen­der peo­ple may have more psy­choso­cial stres­sors and other fac­tors that in­crease car­dio­vas­cu­lar risk, the re­searchers said.

The anal­y­sis in­volved 2,517 trans­gen­der women, me­dian age 30, who re­ceived es­tro­gen, with or with­out an­dro­gen-sup­pres­sors, and 1,358 trans­gen­der men, me­dian age 23, who re­ceived testos­terone as part of their tran­si­tion.

To gauge risk, the re­searchers de­ter­mined the in­ci­dence of acute car­dio­vas­cu­lar events -- heart at­tacks, strokes and deep vein throm­boses (blood clots).

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