Heart Disease Risk Higher in Female Versus Male Smokers

Increased risk of coronary heart disease in women smokers independent of other risk factors

THURSDAY, Aug. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Compared with nonsmokers, women who smoke have a significantly higher risk of coronary heart disease than do male smokers, independent of other cardiovascular risk factors, according to a review published online Aug. 11 in The Lancet.

Rachel R. Huxley, D.Phil., from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and Mark Woodward, Ph.D., from the University of Sydney in Australia, reviewed available literature to evaluate the effect of smoking on coronary heart disease in women compared with men. Cohort studies, which were stratified by gender with measures of relative risk (RR) and associated variability for coronary heart disease and current smoking versus not smoking, and which were published between 1966 and 2010 were reviewed. A total of 26 articles with data for 3,912,809 individuals and 67,075 coronary heart disease events from 86 prospective trials were included.

The investigators found that, in 75 studies with 2.4 million participants, adjusted for cardiovascular risk factors other than coronary heart disease, the pooled adjusted female-to-male RR ratio (RRR) of smoking versus not smoking for coronary heart disease was 1.25. Publication bias did not affect this outcome, and variability attributable to between-study heterogeneity was negligible. For every additional year of study follow-up, the RRR increased by 2 percent. Pooled data from 53 studies showed no evidence of gender difference in the RR between people who had or had not previously smoked.

"After allowing for classic cardiovascular risk factors, women had a significant 25 percent increased risk for coronary heart disease conferred by cigarette smoking compared with men," the authors write.

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