Some heart attack risk factors affect women more dramatically than men

3D illustration of the female human heart anatomy

3D illustration of the female human heart anatomy

The research, by researchers from Oxford University, found that per person, smoking, high blood pressure and diabetes produced a higher chance of heart attack in women compared to men.

Doctors should also be better at spotting female patients at risk.

Over seven years, 5,081 people had their first heart attack and one in three of them were women.

But while men remain more likely than women to suffer an attack, incidents among women are on the rise.

The researchers, writing in the British Medical Journal, said that despite the increased risks women receive worse care. But, the risk for women still was higher than with men.

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Researchers who examined data for half a million Britons found that the risk of heart disease for such women was between 1.5 and 2 times higher than for men. For example, type 2 diabetes, which is usually linked to poor diet and lifestyle factors, may have a different impact on the female heart to the male one.

Smoking was found to increase a woman's risk of heart attack by 55 percent more than it did for a man.

Carried out by researchers from The George Institute for Global Health at the University of Oxford, the new study looked at 471,998 male and female participants aged 40-69 who were taking part in UK Biobank, a large, long-term study that looks at conditions such as cardiovascular disease in United Kingdom residents.

"It's a complicated, long-term thing to work out, probably caused by a combination of factors - both biological and social", she said.

"These findings highlight the importance of raising awareness around the risk of heart attack women face, and ensuring that women as well as men have access to guideline-based treatments for diabetes and high blood pressure, and to resources to help them stop smoking", Dr. Millett said.

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