Can Smoking Cause Atrial Fibrillation?

Can Smoking Cause Atrial Fibrillation?

In this segment I will discuss smoking and atrial fibrillation and how the effects of smoking can influence your atrial fibrillation.

Smoking is the most common cause of preventable illness worldwide; smoking can cause several adverse health conditions. It can cause lung disease, heart disease, circulation issues, and also several types of cancers.

In 2018 it was found that smoking could also be a significant risk factor for developing atrial fibrillation. There was a study that was published in 2018 which was a meta-analysis, which means that they took the combination of several different studies put together and studied over 600,000 patients. The study found that there is a significant increase in the risk of atrial fibrillation for people who smoke. People who smoke had a 32% increased risk for developing atrial fibrillation. Even former smokers still had a 9% increased risk for developing atrial fibrillation.

One of the most significant points noted from this study was not just smoking by itself causes atrial fibrillation, but the amount that people smoked further increased risk for developing atrial fibrillation. The more that someone smoked the higher that risk of developing atrial fibrillation. For example, for someone who smoked 10 cigarettes a day their risk of developing of atrial fibrillation was 17%. For 20 cigarettes a day it was 32%, and if you smoked 30 cigarettes a day that risk went up to 45% risk for developing atrial fibrillation! So there was a significant increase for every 10 cigarettes that you smoke a day that then significant increased the risk of developing atrial fibrillation.

Is it the cigarettes themselves or the effects that the cigarette smoking can also have on someone’s body that increases risk for atrial fibrillation? Smoking can influence atrial fibrillation, but it also increases risk for people getting lung conditions such as COPD and emphysema. Smoking also increases risk for heart disease, such as a coronary artery disease, which can also influence developing atrial fibrillation. This study is one of the best and clear data that has showed the more you smoked the higher your risk for developing atrial fibrillation. It certainly showed an improvement when people quit smoking, and so quitting smoking is good for patients for many reasons.

I know it's easier said than done to quit smoking. People take many tries to be able to quit smoking, but fortunately there several for aid of smoking cessation. There are several options such as nicotine gums or medications. It is also possible that quitting ‘cold turkey’ can have the best long-term results. So either one of those methods can be useful, but it's also good to understand that it typically takes many tries and many efforts for people to be successful at smoking cessation.

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