Women Who Smoke Or Have Diabetes More At Risk Of Heart Attack

Women who smoke, have high blood sugar or type 1 and type 2 diabetes are more likely to suffer from heart attack. More often than not, women are not aware of the risks of heart disease and subsequently they might be on the receiving end of insufficient care.

Nov. 13, 2018, 8:30 a.m.

While smoking entails several health hazards, a study has recently concluded that high blood pressure and diabetes in woman can increase the risk of heart attack in women. The researchers wrote in the BMJ, as quoted by a report in the BBC, that women, much like men, should be given equal treatment and be offered support to stop smoking.

The study, led by Oxford University researchers, assessed nearly 500,000 people, from the age group 40-69, who were enrolled in the UK Biobank database. And over the seven years, it was found out that 5,081 people had their first heart attacks, and one among three of them were women. Even though men are still considered three times more vulnerable than women to suffer from heart attack, certain factors increase the risk in women. At the same time, high blood pressure too serves as a risk factor in women also Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

The researchers, however, are uncertain how these factors are sex-specific. “Heart disease also affects women and this needs to be recognised,” Dr Elizabeth Millett, lead study author said. “It’s a complicated, long-term thing to work out, probably caused by a combination of factors – both biological and social,” she added.

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The study also says that more often than not, women are not aware of the risks of heart disease and subsequently they might be on the receiving end of insufficient care.

Heart attack symptoms:

  • Chest pain - a sensation of pressure, tightness or squeezing in the centre of your chest
  • Pain in other parts of the body - it can feel as if the pain is travelling from your chest to your arms (usually the left arm is affected, but it can affect both arms), jaw, neck, back and abdomen
  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
  • Sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Overwhelming sense of anxiety (similar to having a panic attack)
  • Coughing or wheezing

Although the chest pain is often severe, some people may feel only minor pain, similar to indigestion. In some cases, there may not be any chest pain at all, especially in women, the elderly and people with diabetes.

Source: NHS Choices

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