Women whose mothers are victims of stroke are at a far higher risk of a heart attack.
Women may be more at risk of inherited forms of heart disease. In men, it tends to be triggered by lifestyle factors such as diet, drinking and smoking.
Oxford University researchers looked at more than 2,200 female patients who had suffered a stroke, heart attack or angina, the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics reports.
They found that a far higher proportion of the women’s mothers had suffered a stroke compared to their fathers, according to the Daily Mail.
The study also found that the women with heart problems were more likely to have a sister who had suffered a stroke than a brother.
In an earlier study on the same group of women, researchers found that they faced a higher risk of heart attack before the age of 65 if their mothers also had a heart attack at an early age.
Other researchers have shown that a daughter’s stroke risk is linked to her mother’s history of stroke.
Lead author Amitava Banerjee from the Stroke Prevention Research Unit at Oxford said: “Our study results point towards sex-specific heritability of vascular disease across different arterial territories – namely coronary and cerebral artery territories.
“Moreover, traditional risk factors such as high blood pressure, smoking and diabetes don’t account for heart attack risk as clearly in women as in men, and tools to gauge risk in women are inadequate.”
Some 55,000 women die from heart disease every year, compared with 66,000 men, in the UK.