According to a study published July 14, women under the age of 45 are twice as likely to have heart attacks if they have a certain combination of blood-borne factors, including too little folate and too much of the protein homocysteine. Researchers studied 79 women who survived heart attacks and compared them to 386 healthy women. Women with the highest blood levels of folate, a nutrient found in orange juice, bananas, beans and broccoli, had approximately a 50% reduction in heart attack risk compared to women with lower levels of the nutrient. Women in the top 10% for homocysteine levels had 2.3 times the risk of heart attack compared with those in the bottom 50%.
In related news, African-American women between the ages of 25 and 54 are more likely to suffer from coronary heart disease than white women of the same age group; the data reverse for women between the ages of 65 to 74. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) obtained this information by studying follow-up data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The survey involved 11,406 individuals between the ages of 25 and 74 who had not suffered coronary heart disease when the study began. The follow-up time was about 19 years. CDC researchers are encouraging doctors to work with African-American women under the age of 65 to reduce factors which contribute to heart problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and cigarette smoking.