Researchers from the University of California in the United States of America (U.S.) have said that continuous indoor exposure to secondhand smoke could trigger changes in the heart’s electrical activity, which is heart rhythm problem or heart arrhythmia.
According to a new study released by the University of California Davis Health researchers, exposure to secondhand smoke affects the cells that regulate heartbeats. Heartbeat problems (heart arrhythmias) occur when the electrical impulses that coordinate the heartbeats don’t work properly, causing the heart to beat too fast, too slow or irregularly. Heart arrhythmias may feel like a fluttering or racing heart and may be harmless. Lead Researcher, Crystal Ripplinger, an associate professor of pharmacology at UC Davis Health, said smoking was still the leading cause of preventable illness in the U.S. and bystanders were still exposed to smoking in cars, homes, casinos and when they travel to places with fewer tobacco-smoke protections.
Shee added; “It’s important to continually define the health effects of those unintended exposures.” According to Ripplinger, the study was the first to examine the effects of secondhand tobacco smoke and cellular changes in heart tissue. It also focuses on a condition other than coronary heart disease or CAD. “The link between secondhand smoke and CAD is well established, but there is little or no research on how it influences cellular changes associated with arrhythmia, which may affect individuals with or without CAD.”
The researchers found the hearts of mice exposed to filtered air responded normally even under stress, but the hearts from mice exposed to secondhand smoke could not tolerate fast rates, especially after 12 weeks of exposure.