By Robert Preidt
The study from Poland also found that young women who actually had a heart attack were more likely to be smokers than older women who had suffered heart attacks.
To reach these conclusions, the researchers looked at nearly 7,400 Polish women. Among those aged 45 and younger, women with diabetes were six times more likely to have a heart attack than those without diabetes.
High blood pressure increased the risk by four times, high cholesterol levels tripled the risk and smoking nearly doubled the risk. There was no significant link between obesity and heart attack risk, but this may be due to the fact that diabetes was so common among obese young women, according to study co-author Hanna Szwed, a professor at the Institute of Cardiology in Warsaw.
The study was presented Monday at the European Society of Cardiology annual meeting in London. Research presented at meetings is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
"We found that the risk factor profile in young women with [heart attack] was similar to the older population, apart from the greater occurrence of tobacco smoking in young women," Szwed said in a society news release.
"This finding correlates with other research which shows that smoking is a growing problem in young women. This is clearly an area where prevention efforts are needed," she added.
"At present there are not enough global scientific reports focused on the problem of coronary heart disease in young populations, particularly in women," Szwed said.
More research is needed to improve public health efforts to fight heart disease in this age group, Szwed concluded.