Smoking Linked to Lower Cognitive Functionality after Stroke
People who smoke or have recently quit have higher odds of being severely impaired after a stroke than their counterparts who never smoked, a new study suggests.
Smoking has long been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and serious events like heart attacks and strokes. But the new study sheds light on how smoking in the period before a stroke impacts how easily people will be able to navigate daily life afterward.
Compared to nonsmokers, those who were current smokers at the time of their stroke were 29% more likely to have poor functional outcomes afterward, the study found.
While former smokers overall were at no higher risk for poor outcomes than nonsmokers, that wasn't true for former smokers who had quit within the past two years; this group was 75% more likely to function poorly after the stroke.
The findings were similar for being functionally dependent on others three months after a stroke, the study team notes in the journal Stroke.
Study co-author Tetsuro Ago of Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan, said: "Smoking could be an important and modifiable factor that hinders post-stroke functional recovery."
"Patients, particularly those harboring stroke risks, should quit smoking as soon as possible," Ago said by email.
Patients were 70 years old, on average, and roughly one in four were current smokers. Another 32% were former smokers and 43% had no history of smoking.
Among current smokers, the risk of poor functional outcomes increased with the number of cigarettes they smoked each day.
Still, the results suggest that smoking cessation later in life may help minimize disability and disruption to daily life after a stroke, Ago said.