Heart attacks are often linked to high blood pressure, diabetes and smoking. But a new study suggests pregnancy can also increase the risk. “There are significant hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy that affect the coronary arteries,” said study author Dr. Uri Elkayam, professor of medicine, cardiology, and obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Southern California…Seventy percent of spontaneous coronary dissections occur in women and 30 percent of those occur during pregnancy or immediately after, according to Dr. Sharon Hayes, a cardiologist at the Mayo clinic in Rochester, Minn. who was not involved in the study. ”We have known for decades that young women with heart attack have higher mortality than men at the same age and also have very different cardiovascular disease risk factors,” she said.
ABC News 3/25/12