Women from low socio-economic backgrounds are 25 percent more likely to suffer a heart attack than disadvantaged men, suggests new research.
Cardiovascular disease is the single leading cause of death in women worldwide, with an estimated 8.6 million women dying every year.
The findings showed that a lower socioeconomic status, compared to a higher, is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease for both sexes, but women from more disadvantaged backgrounds were relatively more likely to suffer from coronary heart disease than similarly affected men.
"Our study has shown there is a significant difference between the sexes - more disadvantaged women are suffering from heart disease than their male counterparts, which is concerning," said Sanne Peters, research student at The George Institute for Global Health, in Britain.
Further, men and women have a similar lifetime risk of heart disease. However, women, on average, develop heart disease 5-10 years later in life than men. This advantage is smaller among women with a lower socioeconomic status.
For the study, the team examined data from 22 million people from North America, Europe, Asia and Australasia. The results demonstrated a need for tailored interventions for women to address the gender gap and deliver the best possible care.
"There is a clear need for sex specific research to discover why disproportionally more women than men are suffering from heart disease in disadvantaged communities and to deliver prevention and treatment programs that will reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease around the world," Peters said.
The study was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.