Smoking, diabetes and high blood pressure increase the risk of a heart attack more in women than in men, new research from The George Institute for Global Health at the University of Oxford has found.
The study, of 472,000 participants aged 40-69, found that smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure and having a BMI >25 puts both men and women at increased risk of having a heart attack. However, while male current smokers have over twice the risk of a heart attack than men who have never smoked, female smokers were found to have over three times the risk of women who have never smoked, giving them a so-called ‘excess risk’.
An excess risk was also found among women with high blood pressure, and Type I and Type II diabetes, but not with a high BMI.
“Overall, more men experience heart attacks than women. However, several major risk factors increase the risk in women more than they increase the risk in men, so women with these factors experience a relative disadvantage,” said Dr. Elizabeth Millett, Epidemiologist at The George Institute UK, who led the research using data from the UK Biobank.