ISLAMABAD: Scientists have identified a gene that puts women at higher risk of heart disease.
 
Comparing their genes, the health of their blood vessels and the thickness of key arteries, scientists pinpointed a version of a gene that was linked to a higher risk of heart attacks, strokes and diseased blood vessels in women.
 
Though they still have work to do to fully understand the link, researchers believe the gene when combined with a woman's naturally occurring estrogen could lead to an increased risk of heart disease. 
 
And building on previous work, they suggest the gene may encourage the mass migration of cells into the walls of key blood vessels - making them thicker. 
 
As blood vessel walls thicken, this could, in turn, increase the chance of blockages that lead to heart attacks and strokes.
 
The researcher, Freya Boardman Pretty said, we known for a long time that risk factors for heart disease are different for men and women. 
 
This gene effect seen only in women, could be contributing to this difference, although we expect there are a lot of other factors at play. 
 
If we can confirm that this gene is involved, and work out exactly how it leads to an increased risk of heart disease in women, it could become a new target for drugs in the future."
 
She added that more research is needed and that individuals need to look beyond their genetic make-up and focus on healthy lifestyles to help protect themselves from heart disease.