Smoking riskier to women's hearts than men's

MUNICH, Germany (AP) -- Researchers say women typically get heart disease much later than men -- but that the difference narrows quite a bit if they smoke.

In fact, say the scientists, women who smoke have heart attacks nearly 14 years earlier than women who don't smoke. For men, the gap is not so dramatic, about six years.

Doctors in Norway based their study on data from nearly 1,800 patients admitted for a first heart attack at a hospital in Lillehammer.

Their study found that the men on average had their first heart attack at age 72 if they didn't smoke, and at 64 if they did.

Women in the study had their first heart attack at age 81 if they didn't smoke, and at age 66 if they did.

After adjusting for other heart risk factors like blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes, researchers found that the difference for women was about 14 years and for men, about six years.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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