Smoking is a key risk factor for ischaemic stroke in young South Asian male workers in Qatar and a stroke occurs two years earlier in them compared to non-smokers, a recent study has concluded.
The study identified 778 male workers of South Asian descent with ischaemic stroke in Qatar of which 41.3% were current smokers. Compared to non-smokers, current smokers suffered a stroke 2.03 years earlier.
The study ‘Cigarette smoking as a risk factor for ischaemic stroke in young South Asian male migrants to Qatar: The BRAINS study’ published on Qatar Medical Journal and featured on Qscience.com notes that incidence of stroke in the Middle East is high, given its relatively young population and smoking is a well-recognised risk factor for ischaemic stroke.
The research was done to determine whether young male South Asian workers in Qatar were adversely affected by stroke depending on their smoking or non-smoking status. For this, data from the ongoing international prospective, BRAINS study was analysed.
Male South Asian migrants to Qatar with a history of ischaemic stroke were recruited. Multivariate regression analysis was used to estimate the effects of comorbidities, such as BMI, hypertension, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, alcohol consumption, and ischaemic heart disease, on the association of age of stroke onset and smoking status.
The authors of the study are: Fahmi Yousef Khan, Hassan al-Hai, Musab Ali, Hassan al-Hussein, Hassan Osman Abuzaid, Khalid Sharif and Dirk Deleu all from Hamad Medical Corporation; Gie Ken-Dror and Paul Ly from Institute of Cardiovascular Research, Royal Holloway University of London, UK and Pankaj Sharma from Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London UK.
In an observational study in Qatar, smoking was one of the main risk factors found in young adults admitted with ischaemic stroke. However, the migrant population has not been well studied and hence it was sought to determine in this study whether smoking hurt stroke onset in South Asian males working in Qatar.
A trained clinical nurse self-reported the smoking status on a detailed questionnaire. Patients were categorised into non-smokers or current smokers. Non-smokers were defined as those who had never smoked any tobacco product. Current smokers were defined as those who smoked any tobacco product during recruitment. Ex-smokers were not included in the study.
The analysis demonstrated that only current smoking status was associated with an earlier age of stroke onset. Smoking is associated with at least a two-year earlier onset of ischaemic stroke in male South Asian migrants to the Middle East. Our study has important implications for the public health management of migrants in host countries.
Using an ongoing large international stroke study, the research shows that ischaemic stroke occurs two years earlier in young South Asian male migrant smokers compared to non-smokers. In addition, there were significant clinical characteristic differences such as BMI, alcohol consumption, hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes among South Asian stroke migrants separated by smoking status.
The study, according to the researchers, has implications for public health management in host countries of migrant workers. Such countries should target their anti-smoking campaigns to migrant workers in their languages to have maximum effect.