"Our findings suggest that clinicians should be vigilant when their female patients are elderly, smoke, have diabetes, or have high blood pressure", the researchers wrote in a paper published by The British Medical Journal on Thursday. The researchers found that 5,081 of those people had their first heart attack during the course of the study, 28.8% of them women.
It's a similar story with high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, with women living with the conditions at a greater risk of heart attacks than men.
According to the researchers, the exact reason why these women with the specific three risk factors were at greater risk than men was not known.More news: Man Leaps Over Fence Into Lagoon Filled With Crocodiles
The authors they believe their study is the first to analyse both absolute and relative differences in heart attack risk between the sexes across a range of risk factors in a general population. "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 lead author Dr Elizabeth Millett, an epidemiologist at the George Institute for Global Health, University of Oxford.
The study, which was attended by 470 thousand Britons showed that in women with high blood pressure or type II diabetes (both linked to poor diet and alcohol consumption), the risk of heart attack is higher than that of men with the same indications.
To look more closely at this association, researchers looked at data on nearly half a million people enrolled in the UK Biobank - a database of biological information from British adults.
The Oxford study removed those who had a history of cardiovascular disease before they signed up and scanned data on the remaining group for fatal and non-fatal myocardial infarction - heart attack. They also add that physicians need to be aware of the risks to women and spot females who are at risk of heart disease.More news: Florida’s Race For Governor Is In Recount Territory
For example, while male smokers had more than twice the risk of heart attack than men who had never smoked, women smokers had more than three times the risk of heart attack than those who had never smoked, the study found.
Women with hypertension or high blood pressure were an 83 percent higher risk of getting heart attacks compared to men.
Researchers have warned that heart disease is "still under the radar of most women" and called for equal access to treatments.
"These findings also highlight the importance of equitable access to guideline-based treatments for diabetes and hypertension, and to weight loss and smoking cessation programmes for women and men in middle and older age".More news: Boris Johnson backs brother Jo’s decision to quit over Brexit
"These differences in fat distribution have a different impact on the metabolic system and might explain some of the sex difference seen for diabetes". Professor Metin Avkiran, of the British Heart Foundation in a statement said, "This is an important reminder that heart disease does not discriminate, so we must shift perceptions that it only affects men".