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Female Smokers at Increased Cardiac Risk

The risks of cardiac disease and death have been well emphasized as potential health risks of smoking have been identified. However, this risk doubles for women who are light to moderate smokers. In a new study, around 100,000 women were evaluated, with continual follow-up until the 30 year mark. The study focused primarily on women who had no previous history of cardiac disease.  351 cases of sudden cardiac death were reported during the study period. As suspected by researchers, many of these cases directly reflected the daily amount of cigarettes smoked nd the duration of habitual smoking. Light to moderate smokers are classified as anyone who smokes 1-14 cigarettes per day. Smoking more than this pushes the user into the heavy smoker category. For the light to moderate female smoker, the risk of sudden cardiac death was 2 times more likely. For women who smoke 25 or more cigarettes daily, the increased risk rose tripled and for women who smoked for 35+ years the risk was 2.5 times more likely. Additionally, for every 5 years a woman continued to smoke, her risk of cardiac death rose 8%. All of these figured were gathered in comparison to non-smokers. The risk of sudden cardiac death can easily be subdued by quitting smoking. However, researchers were also able to identify different effects that quitting smoking had on women’s risk of death. For women with no history of cardiac disease, the looming sudden death risk dropped almost instantly. For women who did have a history of cardiac problems, risk reduction was delayed, only matching the same risk levels of non-smokers around 15-20 years after quitting. Acute effects on the heart by nicotine include heart fluctuation (flutters) and changes in blood pressure. Long term effects of nicotine and chemicals contained in the cigarettes can eventually make your heart stop completely. The best thing for any female smoker is to quit sooner, rather than later. This is especially important if you are predisposed to heart disease. Many women never realize that they are in trouble until cardiac death appears as the first symptom. Formulate a plan to quit, converse with your doctor, and use cessation products designed to help curb cravings. Sources: Forbes - WebMD - U.S. News - Healthday -
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