Un­der-50 smok­ers face higher heart at­tack risk

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

Smok­ers un­der 50 are eight times more likely than non-smok­ers of the same age to have a ma­jor heart at­tack, sci­en­tists said yes­ter­day. The gap in risk be­tween those who do and don’t con­sume to­bacco di­min­ishes with age, drop­ping to a five-fold dif­fer­ence among 50-to-65 year-olds, and a three-fold gap among over-65s, the team said.

The find­ings are sur­pris­ing be­cause younger men and women typ­i­cally do not have as many of the health prob­lems-di­a­betes, high blood pres­sure or choles­tero­las­so­ci­ated with an in­creased chance of heart fail­ure. “Smok­ing is per­haps the most pow­er­ful of all risk fac­tors, ex­ert­ing its ef­fect much sooner than any other,” con­cluded the study, pub­lished in the jour­nal Heart.

All smok­ers face a markedly higher danger of heart at­tacks than non-smok­ers, but it had not been clear how the risk com­pared be­tween age brack­ets. To find out, a team of re­searchers led by Ever Grech of The South York­shire Car­dio­tho­racic Cen­tre at North­ern Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal in Sh­effield, Eng­land, ex­am­ined data from 1,727 adults who un­der­went treat­ment for a com­mon type of heart at­tack­known by the acro­nym STEMI-be­tween 2009 and 2012. Such at­tacks re­sult in a large por­tion of the heart mus­cle dy­ing. Nearly half the pa­tients were cur­rent smok­ers. The rest were al­most evenly di­vided be­tween ex-smok­ers and peo­ple who had never picked up the to­bacco habit.

On av­er­age, cur­rent smok­ers were at least a decade younger than ex- or never-smok­ers when the heart at­tack hit, the study found. They were also twice as likely as non-smok­ers to pre­vi­ously have suf­fered from coro­nary artery dis­ease. Across the pop­u­la­tion of South York­shire, 27 per­cent of adults un­der the age of 50 con­sumed to­bacco, said the study. But nearly 75 per­cent of STEMI heart at­tack pa­tients un­der 50 were smok­ers.

Over­all, smok­ers were more than three times as likely to have a STEMI than ex- and non-smok­ers com­bined, the data showed. The re­sults should be a wake-up call to young smok­ers, the re­searchers warned. “Fur­ther ef­forts to re­duce smok­ing in the youngest are needed,” the study said. — AFP

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