Young Women With Diabetes Have Six Times Higher Risk for Heart Attack

Women under the age of 45 with diabetes have a six-fold risk of heart attack, according to new research from the European Society of Cardiology.

It's already well-known that diabetes can raise risk for cardiovascular events, but the current study suggests that young women may be particularly vulnerable to these types of complications.

"Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) affect mainly the elderly, but for many years an increase in incidence has been observed in young people as well, regardless of gender," said Professor Hanna Szwed, study co-author.

Five classic risk factors

The study, which included 7,386 women, assessed how certain risk factors could predict heart attack. Researchers found that four out of the five "classic" risk factors - diabetes, aterial hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, smoking and obesity - were predictors of heart attacks in young women. The strongest predictor was diabetes, but obesity was not found to have a significant relationship to cardiovascular risks in this study.

Women with diabetes who also had coexisting risk factors had a higher risk for heart attack, the researchers found.

According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular diseases cause more than 52 percent of deaths in women, and the number is rising.

Up to 1 percent of heart attacks are in young women, Szwed noted.

"At present there are not enough global scientific reports focused on the problem of coronary heart disease in young populations, particularly in women," she concluded. "More research is needed into this growing problem to deepen our knowledge, improve prevention efforts and reduce mortality."

Source: European Society of Cardiology

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