Women's heart-risky habits?

Study: We are more likely than men to die of heart attacks, yet less likely to take care of our tickers.

Published September 12, 2007 4:00PM (EDT)

In other health news, researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have found that women with a family history of heart disease are less likely than men to change risk-increasing habits such as smoking and not getting up from the futon. They are also more likely to engage in those habits than women with no history of heart disease (or at least who did not report one). For instance, young women with family histories of heart disease were the biggest smokers. Makes sense intuitively -- the habits may be "inherited," too -- but it's not something to shrug at.

"Although the prevalence of cardiovascular disease is generally low for young women, the consequences can be more severe," said Amit Khera, assistant professor of internal medicine and the study's lead author. "For instance, women are twice as likely as men to have fatal heart attacks." (Did you know that? I did not know that.) The report concluded that doctors need to make sure to ask about family history in the first place, and that (my gloss here) we need to do a better job of getting the word out to women that smoking, say, isn't just bad for you, it's bad for you.

By Lynn Harris

Award-winning journalist Lynn Harris is author of the comic novel "Death by Chick Lit" and co-creator of BreakupGirl.net. She also writes for the New York Times, Glamour, and many others.

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