Study: Smoking increases chance of brain bleeds

We all know that smoking is one of the most unhealthy choices a person can make. And for those suffering with aneurysms, smoking is one of the primary risk factors for the occurrence of aneurysms rupturing.

A new study published in August 2012 in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry found that smokers were nearly three times more likely to have a brain bleed than nonsmokers, and the longer and more heavily a person smoked, the greater their risk for a brain bleed.

One of the reasons for the increased risk is that smoking causes short-term effects such as thickening of the blood and increased blood pressure, both of which increase the risk of a brain bleed. The study’s author, Dr. Chi Kyung Kim of Seoul National University Hospital’s neurology department, reported that quitting smoking can reduce the potential for brain bleeds by 59 percent after five years or more; a figure in-line with the risk of non-smokers:

We have demonstrated that cigarette smoking increases the risk of SAH, but smoking cessation decreases the risk in a time dependent manner, although this beneficial effect may be diminished in previous heavy smokers. To forestall tragic SAH events, our results call for more global and vigorous efforts for people to stop smoking.