Women who smoke or have diabetes are at greater risk of having heart attack as against their male counterpart, a study has found.
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.
The researchers explained that women may be more susceptible to heart attack because of the way the female body stores fat.
The study involved 471,998 people aged between 40 and 69. All the participants had no history of cardiovascular disease at the beginning of the study.
Smoking was found to increase a woman’s risk of heart attack by 55 percent more than it did for a man.
The researchers said unless women begin to improve their lifestyles, their rate of heart attacks would begin to move towards that of men.
Elizabeth Millett, who led the study, said: “Cardiovascular disease is the biggest killer of women but so many don’t realise.
“They’re focused mainly on breast cancer.
“Women should, at least, receive the same access to guideline-based treatments for diabetes and hypertension, and to resources to help lose weight and stop smoking as do men.”
The authors say they believe the 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.
Source: British Medical Journal.