Glen Tamura gtamura at u.washington.edu
Wed May 7 12:59:01 EST 1997


1. Smokers do indeed have more RBCs than non-smokers due to chronic
hypoxia. In fact, the babies of smoking mothers actually have higher
2. This should not have a significant impact on malaria. In non-falciparum
malaria, only a small proportion of erythrocytes become infected, and the
increase in hematocrit is small, so the total parasite burden should not
be increased significantly. For falciparum malaria, all erythrocytes are
susceptible to infection, and this accounts for the greater severity of
disease. Large amounts of hemolysis after infection with this parasite can
lead to large complications. Theoretically speaking, having more
erythrocytes, and therefore more hemolysis, could lead to more
disease. However, the increase in hematocrit is fairly modest, and I
wouldn't expect a large increase in complications. 

Of course, all of this is theoretical, and begs the question of whether
malaria is worse in smokers in real life. My guess is that smokers tend to
have more health problems and having emphysema and clogged coronary
arteries probably makes your prognosis worse, but I don't know that. 
I did a quick medline search of "tobacco" or "smoking" and "malaria" and
came up with a big nothing. 

Glen Tamura

 On Tue, 6 May 1997
sshaddix at graceba.net wrote:

> High School Question:
> 1. Do smokers have more RBCs than non-smokers?
> 2. If smokers have more RBCs, how does this effect malaria?
> Scott : )
> H.S. Biology Teacher
> -------------------==== Posted via Deja News ====-----------------------
>       http://www.dejanews.com/     Search, Read, Post to Usenet

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