STEMI is when one of the heart’s major arteries, the one that supplies oxygen and blood to the heart, is blocked. It’s one of the most life-threatening forms of heart disease.
In this case, researchers at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with the University of Sheffield, did a retrospective study of 3,343 STEMI patients who were treated between 2009 and July 2014. More than 46% of female patients and more than 47% of male patients were smokers.
The study found that smoking increased patients’ risk of this heart problem regardless of gender or age, but the risk was much higher in women than it was in men, no matter their age.
Among smokers, the highest risk increase in both genders was in the 18 to 49 age range. Women in this younger group had a greater than 13 times higher risk of STEMI compared to non-smokers in that same age range. Young male smokers had an increased risk of 8.6 times compared to non-smokers.
The good news is that if patients quit smoking, the damage done to their heart can be reversed.