More than 45 million Americans do this activity every day. And it doubles their risk of a fatal brain bleed from a burst aneurysm.
The nasty habit is smoking. Research shows that smoking more than a pack a day doubles your risk of an aneurysm bursting in your brain and killing you. An aneurysm is a bulge in a weakened artery, which, if it bursts, causes blood to leak into the brain. The chances of surviving a ruptured aneurysm are only about 50-50; and if you survive, you’ll be disabled for life. In the short term, smoking thickens blood and drives up blood pressure, both of which can increase the risk of a brain bleed. These effects can be reversed by stopping smoking.
But smoking also induces permanent changes in the structure of artery walls, say the scientists. These changes may be greater in heavy smokers.