Hyderabad: Smoking is long considered harmful for the lungs, but a new research finding says it changes the lipid profile of a smoker making him vulnerable to high levels of bad cholesterol and low levels of good cholesterol.
The more a person smokes, the more is the abnormal lipid or fat profile. Altered lipid profile doubles the risk for smokers to various health complications including damage to heart and liver. It may also lead to Alzeihmer's disease.
According to a group of researchers at Madras Medical College, Chennai, and Chennai Medical College Hospital and Research Centre, Trichy, cigarette smoking acts on lipids like Apolipoprotein A-I and Apolipoprotein B. While Apolipoprotein A-I helps in fat metabolism and removes cholesterol efflux from tissues for excretion, Apolipoprotein B prevents formation of plaques in arteries.
Any imbalance in the Apolipoprotein system leads to building up of cholesterol in the tissues and formation of plaque in blood vessels. Apolipoprotein B should be present in low quantity while Apolipoprotein A-I in high quantities. Smoking changes this lipid proposition.
According to Dr Ramachandran Meenakshisundaram, among the smokers total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein, triglyceride lipase, and Apo-B are elevated significantly than in non-smokers. During the study, high density lipoprotein and Apo-A1 were not statistically reduced even in mild smokers. Apo-A1 was significantly reduced in heavy smokers. The abnormalities of lipid profile were more significant when smoking pack year increased.
"Smoking, even of short duration and moderate consumption of cigarettes, is associated with adverse lipoprotein profiles. It is clear that alteration in apolipoproteins occurs earlier than its corresponding cholesterol. Similarly, rise in TC, TGL and LDL and fall in HDL were noted among passive smokers," he pointed out.
Abnormalities in lipid profile are directly correlated with smoking and duration of smoking pack years, Dr Ramachandran said adding since apolipoprotein changes occur earlier than cholesterol level, it would be advisable to include apolipoprotein concentration in lipid panel. "Cessation of smoking not only reverses lipid changes but also vascular diseases, especially coronary artery disease."