Smokers tend to suffer heart attacks years earlier than non-smokers, suggests a new study from Michigan.
“Individuals who smoke are much more likely to have a heart attack, and will present with a heart attack a decade or more earlier,” said Dr. Gregg Fonarow, a cardiologist at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, who wasn’t involved in the new study.
The findings, he said, also show that people who smoke “could have a heart attack in the absence of other risk factors.”
Researchers led by Dr. Michael Howe from the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor studied about 3,600 people who were hospitalized with a heart attack or unstable angina.
One-quarter of the patients were current smokers. And on average, they were younger with fewer health problems than non-smokers with heart trouble.
The mean ages at hospital admission were 64 for non-smoking men vs 55 for male smokers. For women, mean ages were 70 for non-smokers and 57 for smokers.
Smokers were less likely to have other health problems that are linked to cardiac risks, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes.
That and their younger age explained why researchers also found that smokers were less likely to die in the six months following the index event than non-smokers.
That “smoker’s paradox” — the idea that smokers who have a heart attack have better outcomes, including a lower risk of death — didn’t last. The difference in death over the next six months was explained by age and other risk factors.
Dr. Fonarow said the findings are just one more example of the heart dangers posed by smoking, but emphasized that kicking the habit can erase those extra risks.
“Even within a few days of stopping smoking, there is a reduction in (heart) risk. As time goes by, within one to two years much of that risk is gone for heart attacks,” he told Reuters Health. “From a coronary risk standpoint, there is an immediate benefit and that continues to extend over time.”
Smoking is just a very bad risk factor for cardiac disease.
You know how I feel.
Please quit if you can and don’t start…..