KUALA LUMPUR, June 26 — Women smokers under 50 face a higher risk of a serious type of heart attack compared to male smokers.
A recently published study in the the Journal of the American College of Cardiology quantifies how badly smoking affects women compared to men. It looked at a particularly serious type of heart attack, acute ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI).
It is a life-threatening heart disease caused by blockage of one of the heart’s major arteries which supply blood and oxygen to the organ.
The research found that though smoking increased patients’ risk of heart disease regardless of age or gender, the risk was higher for this particular condition for women than men.
In fact, the highest risk seen were for women smokers between the ages of 18 to 49. Their risk of developing STEMI were found to be 13 times higher compared to non-smokers in those ages. Male smokers had 8.6 times increased risk.
Previous studies have shown that smoking is the cause of around 50 per cent of STEMI cases.
In this case, researchers believe that smoking lowers production of estrogen which affects the heart. Chronic inflammation due to smoking also increases stress to the organ, which is smaller in women than men.
However, the damage was found to be reversible. It is possible to do so by quitting smoking.
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Sheffield conducted a retrospective study of 3,343 STEMI patients treated over five years. Around 46 per cent of female patients and more than 47 per cent of male patients were smokers.
Heart disease remains the leading cause of death among Malaysians from 2005 to 2017. Smoking, is a strong risk factor for heart disease.