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What factors increase the risk of heart attack in women?
Researchers have now found that smoking, diabetes, and high blood pressure significantly increase the risk of heart attack in women compared to men who face the same factors.
The University of Oxford scientists found in their current study that various factors such as smoking, diabetes and high blood pressure in women increase the likelihood of developing a heart attack. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "BMJ".
Men are more likely to have a heart attack
Men are still three times more likely to have a heart attack than women. But smoking, diabetes and high blood pressure also increase the risk of a heart attack in women. Therefore women should receive the same treatments as men. In addition, women should also receive sufficient support to quit smoking.
The study included almost 500,000 subjects
The study tracked nearly 500,000 subjects aged 40 to 69 who were registered in the UK biobank database. Over the course of seven years, 5,081 people had their first heart attack and one in three was a woman. Although the risk of a heart attack is lower in women than in men of all ages, certain risk factors seem to have a greater impact on women. When women smoked, they had a heart attack three times more often than women who did not smoke. In contrast, the risk of smoking doubled in men.
Diabetes and high blood pressure increase risk of heart attack
High blood pressure increased the risk of heart attack by 83 percent in women compared to the same effect in men. Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes also had a greater impact on the risk of heart attack in women compared to men. The researchers do not know why these factors are gender-specific. So far no clear conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect, but there are some theories. Biological factors could be a reason. For example, type 2 diabetes is usually related to poor nutrition and an unhealthy lifestyle. These factors could have different effects on the female heart than on the male heart, the scientists suspect. Women would also often fail to recognize that they have heart disease and may be treated less well by doctors.
These symptoms indicate a heart attack
Various symptoms can indicate a heart attack, such as chest pain, pain in other parts of the body (usually the left arm, but it can also affect the arms, jaw, neck, back and abdomen), drowsiness, dizziness, sweating, shortness of breath, weakness, anxiety and To cough. Though chest pain is often severe, some people may experience minor pain, similar to indigestion. In some cases, chest pain may not appear at all, especially in the elderly, women, and people with diabetes.
Women should be aware of the increased risks
Heart disease also affects women and this must be recognized, says study author Dr. Elizabeth Millett from the University of Oxford. Women need to be aware that they are at risk, but despite numerous campaigns, most women are unaware of the risk of a heart attack. It's a lengthy, complicated thing that is likely to be caused by a combination of factors, both biological and social, the expert adds. In the future, the aging population could result in women having a similarly high rate of heart attacks as men. (as)