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Continuous Smoking Found to Accelerate Arterial Stiffening

Greater annual rate of change in brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity found in heavy smokers

TUESDAY, April 27 (HealthDay News) -- Continuous heavy smoking may speed up the age-associated progression of structural stiffening of large- to mid-sized arteries, and there is a dose-response relationship between consumption of cigarettes and accelerated arterial stiffening, according to a study in the May 4 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Hirofumi Tomiyama, M.D., of the Tokyo Medical University, and colleagues measured brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV) and serum C-reactive protein (CRP) levels in 2,054 Japanese adults at baseline and at the end of a five- to six-year follow-up period.

The researchers found that continuous heavy smokers had a significantly greater annual rate of change of baPWV than never-smokers (11.0 versus 5.5 cm/s/year), and that the difference remained significant even after they adjusted for covariates such as age. In the 493 continuous smokers, they also found that the mean number of cigarettes smoked per day was significantly associated with the changes in the baPWV. The researchers found no significant relationship between serum CRP levels and the change in baPWV.

"The present study was the first prospective study to suggest that continuous smoking could accelerate the age-associated progression of structural stiffening of the large- to middle-sized arteries," the authors conclude.

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