Study: More women than men die of heart failure
According to the researchers, obesity also increases the risk of diabetes 2. A woman with diabetes has a much higher relative risk of heart complications and death than a man. "We know that women with diabetes 2 are usually obese and some of the fat is stored in the heart, which makes it more vulnerable for disease," Gerdts added.
The researchers explain that many of the differences between woman and men when it comes to heart disease are connected to the sex hormone, oestrogen. The hormone prevents the formation of connective tissue in the heart, which makes it harder for the heart to pump blood. In men the effects are just the opposite.
"We see that obese men store oestrogen in their fat cells in the abdomen, which has a bad effect on the heart," Gerdts said. After menopause, women lose the oestrogen advantage. Their arteries become stiffer and more vulnerable for diseases, the study said.
"We think that this is part of the explanation for why high blood pressure seems to indicate higher risk of heart disease amongst women," Gerdts said. In addition, smoking is also a part of the risk scenario for women. "For women, the effects of risk factors such as smoking, obesity and high blood pressure increase after menopause," Gerdts concluded.