Heart attack risk in women smokers highlighted

Some 80% of women who have heart attacks under the age of 40, and 60% of those under the age of 50, are smokers, the Irish Heart Foundation (IHF) has said.

The charity insisted that quitting smoking is the most important thing a person can do to prevent heart disease.

"Women metabolise nicotine a lot faster than men, so a cigarette will increase a woman's risk a lot more than it will in a man. Another risk factor that's more important for women is family history of heart disease, which can be a stronger predictor in women than in men," explained the IHF's medical director, Dr Angie Brown.

She noted that around 5,200 Irish people die every year as a result of smoking-related illnesses - that is the equivalent of the whole population of Tipperary town.

Statistically, smokers are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack compared to non-smokers. However it is never too late to give up the habit and the body will benefit almost immediately.

Just 20 minutes after quitting, the body's pulse and blood pressure return to normal. One day later, the risk of suffering a heart attack starts to fall. After two days, a person's taste and smell improve and three days later breathing is easier and energy levels start to increase.

After three months, lung function and circulation improves and the risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke further reduces. Within 15 years of quitting, your risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke will be the same as that of a non-smoker.

The IHF highlighted these facts to coincide with World No Tobacco Day (May 31)


[Posted: Tue 31/05/2016]

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