Medicine

Smoking, diabetes increase heart attack risk more in women

Smoking, diabetes increase heart attack risk more in women

Published in the British Medical Journal, the study says: "Although the risk of (heart attack) is, on average, about three times higher in men than women, women tend to "catch up" to some extent if they have certain cardiovascular risk factors".

But the study identified that those three individual factors - smoking, diabetes and high blood pressure - are more likely to be linked to heart attacks in women, showing the need for more awareness efforts targeted at women on the issue of heart diseases. 56 per cent of them were women.

All had no history of cardiovascular disease at the beginning of the study.

Women with high blood pressure also had an 80 per cent higher relative risk of heart attack than men.

The researchers also point out that women might be getting poorer care and treatment from healthcare facilities and their heart conditions might be missed largely because of their perceived lower risk of heart disease than men.

However, a new analysis of the medical records of almost half a million middle-aged people found that, per person, smoking, high blood pressure and diabetes produced a higher chance of heart attack in women compared to men.

Because her latest work is an observational study that can't explain causes, Millett stressed the need for more research into why this gender difference exists.

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The gap in heart attack rates between women and men is set to close because unhealthy living is more risky for the female cardiovascular system, a study has found.

While the overall impact of smoking, high blood pressure and diabetes on heart attack risk decreased in both sexes with age, the greater risk these factors had on the risk of heart attack in women relative to their impact in men persisted. Over the course of the trial more than 5,000 people experienced a heart attack, one in three of whom were women.

In the United Kingdom, almost one in seven men and one in twelve women die from coronary heart disease, the leading cause of heart attacks [1].

Men who smoked were twice as likely to get heart attacks compared to men who did not smoke.

However, they suggested that the sex difference might be partly explained by differences in body shape. According to lead researchers Dr Elizabeth Millett, an epidemiologist at the George Institute for Global Health, University of Oxford, "Heart disease also affects women and this needs to be recognised". Studies have shown that women are 15 percent less likely to be treated same as men for diabetes in UK.

Women need to be aware they're at risk, but despite lots of campaigns, it's still under the radar of most women.

"In addition, a rising prevalence of lifestyle associated risk factors, coupled with the ageing population, is likely to result in women having a more similar overall rate of myocardial infarction (heart attack) to men in the future, with a major additional burden on society and health resources". Professor Metin Avkiran, of the British Heart Foundation in a statement said, "This is an important reminder that heart disease does not discriminate, so we must shift perceptions that it only affects men".