Diseases and conditions such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, low estrogen following menopause, increased age, and pregnancy complications are some risk factors for women developing heart disease, according to Mayo Clinic. Lifestyle factors, such as stress, smoking and not getting enough exercise increase heart attack risk for women.
Diabetes affects women more than men when it comes to being at risk for heart attacks, notes the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Increased blood sugar can lead to diabetic heart disease.
Metabolic syndrome is a condition that includes high blood pressure, triglyceride and blood sugar levels as well as a larger amount of fat near the stomach, according to Mayo Clinic. Women are more susceptible to metabolic syndrome, which puts them at a higher risk for heart disease. Also, when women pass into menopause, the level of the hormone estrogen drops in their bodies, which can lead to cardiovascular disease, especially in small blood vessels. Health issues in early life can increase a woman's chance of heart disease as issues such as high blood pressure during pregnancy can make a woman susceptible to high blood pressure later in life, consequently increasing her risk of heart disease.
Some lifestyle choices put women at greater risk than men for heart disease. For instance, smoking can affect women as much as 25 percent more than men, according to Go Red for Women. Also, women tend to get less exercise than men, putting them at greater risk, notes Mayo Clinic.