Cigarette smoking intensifies the adverse impact of high cholesterol levels on heart disease, according to new research from Japan.
Previous studies have suggested that cigarette smoking exacerbates the impact of high cholesterol on cardiovascular risk, but the findings have been inconsistent.
In their study, Dr Koshi Nakamura from Kanazawa Medical University in Uchinada and colleagues found that each standard deviation increase in total cholesterol was associated with a 50% increase in the risk of heart disease among smokers, compared with a 40% increase among nonsmokers.
What the study showed
Similarly, each standard deviation decrease in "good" HDL cholesterol was associated with a 70% increased risk of heart disease among smokers, but only a 30% increased risk among nonsmokers.
"Smoking exacerbates the association between total cholesterol and the risk of coronary heart disease and mitigates the protective effects of HDL cholesterol on coronary risk," the investigators conclude in the medical journal Heart.
"Hence, the likely benefits of interventions that target one or both of these risk factors are likely to be greater than previously expected." – (Reuters Health, June 2009)
Cholesterol: levels too high?
Gruesome pics help fight tobacco