Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) affect mainly the elderly people. But, for many years, an increase in incidence has been observed in young people as well, regardless of gender. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that CVDs cause more than 52% of all deaths in women and the number continues to rise. A new study has revealed that young women suffering from diabetes have a six-fold risk of heart attack. The findings also suggested that young women who had suffered a heart attack were also more likely to be smokers.
For the study, researchers assessed 7,386 women for the effect of risk factors on heart attack (myocardial infarction or MI) incidence in young women and assessed differences related to age. The average age of young MI patients in the study was 42 years (range 21-45 years). Multivariate analysis revealed that four out of five classic risk factors were independent predictors of MI in young women.
Researchers from Institute of Cardiology in Warsaw, Poland, said, "The strongest was diabetes which increased MI risk by six-fold. Arterial hypertension increased risk by four times while hypercholesterolemia tripled risk and current smoking increased risk by 1.6 times. However, there was no statistical significance for obesity expressed by body mass index (BMI)."
Professor Hanna Szwed, head of the coronary artery disease at the Institute of Cardiology, said, "The lack of a correlation with obesity could be because of the overwhelming influence of diabetes in this population. We also found that the risk of MI in young women increased with the number of coexisting factors. Up to 1% of all heart attacks are in young women. We found that the risk factor profile in young women with MI was similar to the older population apart from the greater occurrence of tobacco smoking in young women."
The study finding correlates with other research which shows that smoking is a growing problem in young women. The authors said, "This is clearly an area where prevention efforts are needed."
The research was presented at the ESC Congress - the annual congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) - in London on August 31, 2015.