Female smokers 'face greater heart risk'

Henrietta Strickland
November 9, 2018

Women who smoke, have diabetes or high blood pressure increase their risk of a heart attack more than men faced with the same risks, a large study of United Kingdom adults has found.

Doctors should also be better at spotting female patients at risk.

The study shows that heart attack risk associated with high blood pressure is 83 percent higher for women than men; with smoking, 55 percent higher. and with Type II diabetes.

The study, led by Oxford University researchers, tracked almost 500,000 people aged 40-69 enrolled in the UK Biobank database.

Over seven years, 5,081 people had their first heart attack and one in three of them were women. But, the risk for women still was higher than with men.

But they emphasised that due to its design the could draw no firm conclusions between cause and effect.

Biological factors may be a reason. All the participants had no history of cardiovascular disease at the beginning of the study.

Although male current smokers had over twice the risk of a heart attack than men who have never smoked, female current smokers had over three times the risk of a heart attack compared to women who had never smoked, what the researchers refer to as "excess risk".

Carried out by researchers from The George Institute for Global Health at the University of Oxford, the new study looked at 471,998 male and female participants aged 40-69 who were taking part in UK Biobank, a large, long-term study that looks at conditions such as cardiovascular disease in United Kingdom residents.

Women with type 2 diabetes, for example, are 96 per cent more likely to have a heart attack than women without.

The researchers said unless women begin to improve their lifestyles, their rate of heart attacks would begin to move towards that of men.

Dr Sanne Peters, who co-authored the study, said: "Women, on average, are more pear-shaped and men, on average, are more apple-shaped".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

Discuss This Article