An global study of 472,000 middle-aged adults with no history of cardiovascular disease found while men were three times as likely as women to have heart attacks, certain risk factors were increasing the chances among women.
The authors of the study concluded, women with diabetes, high blood pressure and those who smoke, "should be considered at a level of risk comparable to many men". But they emphasise that it is an observational study, so no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect.
The 471,998 people had no history of cardiovascular disease, were aged between 40 and 69 and 56 per cent of them were women. "This study brings to light the importance that screening for cardiovascular disease is universal, as are the outcomes". For women with hypertension of the second degree the risk of heart attacks increased by 152% compared to 71% of the stronger sex.
Woman who smoke, have diabetes, or high blood pressure are more likely to suffer a heart attack than men with the same risk factors, a new study claims.
But the rise in risk went even higher for women than men. Millett's study examined the impact of three such risk factors and found that their disproportionate impact on women persisted across age.More news: Father confirms son, 22, was among Thousand Oaks shooting victims
Over an average of seven years, 5,081 people (29 per cent of whom were women) had their first heart attack, meaning that the incidence of heart attack was 7.76 per 10,000 person years in women compared with 24.35 per 10,000 person years in men.
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 .
The study has some limitations.
Women with high blood pressure also had an 80 per cent higher relative risk of heart attack than men.
Doctors should also be better at spotting female patients at risk.
There are more than 200,000 hospital visits each year due to heart attacks, the equivalent of one every three minutes.More news: Kuchar leads in Playa del Carmen, but Champ lurks
"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".
Women need to be aware they're at risk, but despite lots of campaigns, it's still under the radar of most women.
Women who smoked were three times more likely to have a heart attack than women who did not smoke - but in men, smoking only doubled their risk. Doctors must ensure that women and men have equal access to health care programs addressing these conditions, researchers said.
"It is also true that women are less likely to get similar screen and prevention interventions than men", he said.
"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 to men than is the case at present, with a subsequent significant additional burden on society and health resources", the authors warned.More news: Microsoft testing ‘to-do’ feature on Word