Smoking is the most preventable risk factor for the development of coronary artery disease, in both men and women.
There has been a significant gain in knowledge about the impact of gender upon the development of coronary artery disease.
When women have heart attacks from coronary artery disease, the risk of death is higher than for men with similar age and risk factors.
The authors of a study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine looked at the relationship of smoking to other risk factors in postmenopausal women with known coronary artery disease.
The women were randomized to get hormone replacement therapy or to a control arm (no treatment).
They found that smoking adversely affects insulin secretion in these postmenopausal women, as well as increased whole blood viscocity ("blood stickiness"). Hormone replacement therapy had no effect on whole blood viscocity in these postmenopausal women.
The conclusions in this study are that postmenopausal women with established coronary artery disease who smoke have an increased risk for progressive coronary artery disease due to insulin resistance and increased whole blood viscocity.
For further information regarding smoking cessation, postmenopausal status or hormone replacement therapy, contact your primary care physician or cardiovascular specialist.