High blood pressure, smoking and diabetes raise women's risk of heart attack more than these factors increase the risk of humans, according to a new study published in BMJ.
The rate of heart attack in men remains three times higher than that of women, according to researcher Elizabeth Millett, epidemiologist at George Institute of Global Health at Oxford University. But the study found that these three individual factors – smoking, diabetes, and high blood pressure – are associated with heart attacks in women, suggesting the need for additional efforts aimed at raising awareness of women with heart disease issues.
Millett's work is part of a wider bank study of gender differences in the non-communicable diseases of George Instituta.
"This reinforces the need for people to remember seeing women and men in studying heart attacks," Millett said.
Since her most recent work is an observational study that can not explain the causes, Millett emphasized the need for further research into why this difference exists between the sexes.
Almost half a million Britons enrolled in UK Biobank have studied. They were between 40 and 69 and were employed between 2006 and 2010. The Millett team tracked them seven years on average. Out of 471,998 participants, no one had history of cardiovascular disease. Researchers found that 5.081 people had the first heart attack during the study, of which 28.8% were women.
High blood pressure was a leading factor; increased the risk of heart attack by 83% more than it increased the risk for a man. Smoking increased the risk of heart attack in women, 55% more, and Type 2 diabetes – associated with poor diet – had 47% greater impact on heart attacks in women than men.
Studies have revealed some risk factors that affect women at a higher rate than men. The Millett study examined the impact of three of these risk factors and found that their disproportionate impact on women remains in years.
According to the study, deaths from heart attacks are lower than men than in younger men, and previous studies show that women are nine years older than average heart attack.
Combined with the old population, it is likely to see "women who have caught people" in terms of heart attack rates, Millett explained. This would cause "a significant additional additional burden on the society and health resources," the authors of the study say.
The study has some limitations. The UK Biobank project consists mainly of white participants, which makes it difficult to find the findings of other groups. Millett also said that the interviewed participants had a somewhat bigger socioeconomic status than the others in the UK.
"Regardless of gender, risk factors such as high blood pressure, smoking, and diabetes increase the risk of heart attack. These results should not distract from common efforts to better detect and manage risk factors that can be changed," he wrote in – Provided by Professor Metin Avkiran, Assistant Medical Director of the British Heart Foundation.
According to the UK Heart Foundation, around 188,000 hospital visits each year are the result of a heart attack. Every year around 735,000 Americans have a heart attack, according to US centers for disease control and prevention.
"What we want is for women to be more aware that a heart attack occurs to women as well as men," Millett said. She believes there is a lack of awareness of heart disease in women because men are more affected by them.
The research also emphasizes the need for doctors to be careful when their female patients are elderly, breathing, have diabetes or have high blood pressure. Physicians must ensure that women and men have equal access to health care programs that deal with these conditions, researchers said.
Millett added that consciousness is crucial because the symptoms of heart attack may differ for men and women. Several symptoms – such as unusual tiredness, dizziness or cold sweat – are more common in women than in men, she explained.
"It is absolutely important that everyone has equal access to the best advice and treatment regardless of age, gender or socioeconomic status," Avykiran wrote. "This is an important reminder that the heart disease does not discriminate, so we need to move the perception that it only affects people."