During a myocardial infarction or a heart attack, the heart stops functioning. This is because a blood clot often cuts off its supply.
As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), someone in the U.S. experiences from myocardial infarction every 40 seconds. Every year, almost 790,000 suffer from such an event.
The current stance at this situation is that men are all together at a greater risk of suffering from a heart attack as compared to women. The risk of women towards a heart attack increases as they go through a menopause.
However, the researchers from the George Institute for Global Health in the United Kingdom conducted a study that indicated that women might be more prone to some risk factors for heart attack as compared to men.
This study papers, which is currently published in The BMJ, the team reported about certain risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and smoking habit that put women at risk of a heart attack more than men.
To go through the complete study, click here.
Women are at Excessive Risk
The researchers went through the data f 471,998 individuals of whom 56 percent comprised of women. The participants were between the ages of 40 to 69 and had no past history of cardiovascular disease.
During the first instance, the findings of the investigators were not surprising at all. The researchers confirmed that both women and men were at a higher risk of heart attack if they have diabetes, smoke cigarettes, suffer from a high blood pressure or have a body mass index of more than 25 which signifies potential obesity.
Moreover, men who used to smoke 20 or more cigarettes per day suffered from more than twice the risk of getting a heart attack as compared to men who never smoked in their lives. However, the surprise came when the investigators took a closer look at the data retrieved from the female participants.
Women who used to smoke were at more than the three-fold higher risk of heart attack than women who had never smoked their entire life. The researchers termed this as ‘excess risk.’
Women suffering from both type 1 and type 2 diabetes as well as high blood pressure also suffered from an increased risk. However, this increment in the risk did not apply to women who had higher BMI values.
Specifically speaking, the researchers found that a high blood pressure was linked to an 80 percent increase in the relative risk in females as compared to males.
During diabetes type 1, women suffered from the thrice as high relative risk of heart attacks as men. In the case of diabetes type 2, the relative risk for women was 47 percent higher in women as compared to men.
Overall speaking, men tend to experience heart attacks more often than women. However, some major risk factors can also increase this risk in women more than they increase it in men. So, the women experiencing these risk factors are experiencing a relative disadvantage.
Upon looking at how the risk of heart attacks change with age, the investigators found that the hazards linked with a high blood pressure and smoking decreased with age. This was true for both men and women.
However, the excess risk linked with women tends to remain consistent, irrespective of their age.