How Hookah Smoking Affects Blood Vessels

Hookah smoking, also known as shisha, or E-cigarettes, can damage the endothelial function of blood vessels, according to new study.

More people are giving up cigarette smoking – which is a good move, but are turning to the use of electronic cigarettes or hookah smoking.

READ ALSO: E-cigarettes May Cause Cancer and Heart disease

Cigarette smoking causes over 480,000 deaths yearly in United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, more people are beginning to use electronic cigarettes as the use of regular cigarettes drop.

How Safe is Hookah Smoking?

Hookah smoking is still not safe, according to research. Several studies suggest that a single session of hookah smoking transports 10 times to the blood stream the amount of carbon monoxide present in a regular cigarette.

Just like normal cigarette smoking, hookah smoking can also harden the arteries, according to a recent study. Stiffness of artery is the primary cause of stroke. Apart from stiff artery, hookah smoking also causes enlarges the aorta, which is another cause of stroke.

Now, new research presented at the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Scientific Sessions 2018, has further buttressed the proof that hookah smoking may cause injury to cardiovascular health.

Effects of hookah smoking

Lead author of the study, Mary Rezk-Hanna Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Nursing, and colleagues studied the before and after hookah smoking effect on 30 young, healthy adults who were 26 years old on average.

READ ALSO: Habits That Are Harmful To Your Heart

The researchers observed the blood levels of nicotine on the participants before and after the smoking session and measured their exhaled carbon monoxide levels and a marker of artery function called flow-mediated dilation of blood vessels.

The latter measure describes the dilation, or widening, of blood vessels when blood flow increases. Flow-mediated dilation is a measure of the endothelial function of arteries, and many consider endothelial dysfunction to be “the initial phase of the atherosclerotic process.”

The team compared the results of these measures with the effects of one normal cigarette in age-matched people who smoke regular cigarettes.

Also, Rezk-Hanna and team took the same measurements before and after hookah smokers were asked to use an electronic device to vape a mixture of carbon monoxide gas that mirrored the effects that people experience from charcoal-heated hookah smoking.

Hookah smoking may harm arteries

According to the research team, exhaled carbon monoxide levels were nine to 10 times higher in charcoal-heated hookah smoking than in electronically heated hookah or regular cigarette smoking. Nicotine levels were equally high across all smoking sessions.

READ ALSO: Smoking 1 Stick of Cigarette a Day Can Still Kill You

The researchers also discovered that flow-mediated dilation was greater after charcoal-heated hookah smoking, while electronically heated hookah or traditional cigarette smoking lowered flow-mediated dilation. A lower flow-mediated dilation point to endothelial dysfunction.

From the results, the team explain that the main difference between charcoal-heated and electrically heated hookah is that charcoal briquettes produce high levels of carbon monoxide. This causes the blood vessels to become dilated, a move which may mask the harmful effects of charcoal-heated hookah smoking on endothelial function.

In a nutshell, hookah smoking may damage function of blood vessel in the same way as cigarette smoking.




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