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What is my risk regarding exposure to second-hand smoke?

I have a family history of heart disease at very young ages, so I take whatever measures I can to minimize my own risks and have become slightly paranoid, some might say! I read about endothelial dysfunction and damage to the endothelial repair mechanisms occurring from 30 minutes of second-hand smoke exposure. While I live in an area where smoking bans are enforced, I have, on very rare occasions, been forced to endure brief exposures. Would this sort of damage be permanent if it is not repeated, or is it really a warning about what could happen with brief exposures on a daily basis?

submitted by Jane from New York City on 2/7/2013


by Texas Heart Institute cardiologist, Guilherme V. Silva, MD  

Guilherme Silva, MDExposure to second hand smoke, if brief, should not cause permanent damage to the endothelial function. However, avoid repeated exposures to second hand smoke, and most importantly, consult a cardiologist to assess your risk and pursue primary prevention measures. Hope that helps!  

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Updated February 2013
Texas Heart Institute Heart Information Center
Through this community outreach program, staff members of the Texas Heart Institute (THI) provide educational information related to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cardiovascular disease. It is not the intention of THI to provide specific medical advice, but rather to provide users with information to better understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. Specific medical advice will not be provided and THI urges you to visit a qualified physician for diagnosis and for answers to your questions.
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