Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Blood pressure harm from smoke 'may explain cot death'

Smoke exposure during pregnancy damages a baby's blood pressure control, which may explain why such babies' risk of cot death is higher, say experts. Maternal smoking remains one of the biggest risk factors for cot death. A team at Sweden's Karolinksa Institute found smoke-exposed babies had abnormal surges in blood pressure, even when sleeping undisturbed in their cots. These surges put extra demand on the heart, making it pump faster and harder, the journal Hypertension says. The study suggests damage to the circulation may be a factor in sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), although it set out to look at the effects of smoking on the newborn rather than cot death per se - BBC

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