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Rosenberg et al (11) completed a case-control analyses of the prevalence data reported in the 1995 Black Women’s Health Study. The results were based on the comparison of 352 cases with 1,760 age-matched controls. Statistically significant elevations in the odds ratios for African American Women were reported for current cigarette smoking (odds ratio = 1.6 for 1-14 cigarettes per day, 2.3 for >15 cigarettes per day and 2.0 for past smoking), hypertension (odds ratio =3.1), diabetes mellitus (odds ratio=2.2), elevated cholesterol (odds ratio=2.9), body mass index (BMI) (odds ratio=1.4) and having a parent with a history of heart attack before the age of 50 (odds ratio=2.7). A discussion of the most prevalent cardiac risk factors for African American women follows:
              Cigarette Smoking
Over 400,000 deaths per year are attributable to cigarette smoking. Although the effects of cigarette smoking have not been studied specifically in African American Women, they have been studied in both women and in African Americans. Cigarette smoking is very potent CHD risk factors for women even in they only smoke two to five cigarettes per day (12). On average, first myocardial infarctions occur seven years earlier in men who smoke compared with 19 years earlier in female smokers. (13) Cigarette smoking may be a particularly strong risk factor for CHD in African American women because the CHD risk is greater when smoking is combined with hypertension, diabetes mellitus and hypercholesterolemia, all of which are highly prevalent in African American women. (14)