Changes in food habits, lifestyle and sedentary work culture are contributing to increased risk of heart disease among women. The incidence of heart disease is, however, less in women, compared to men, as the hormonal changes that occur between menarche and menopause provide protection to them, according to Dr. KP Hemamalini, an Assistant Professor of Cardiology at the King George Hospital (KGH).
Delivering a talk on ‘Heart problems in women’, on the occasion of International Women’s Day on Friday, Dr. Hemamalini noted that post-menopause the risk would increase due to decreased hormonal activity. She, however, said that hormone replacement therapy was not found to be useful in overcoming the risk. The growing incidence of diabetes, smoking and lack of physical activity apart from genetic predisposition were the other factors contributing to increasing heart disease among women.
The psychological stress of meeting targets, rushing to the office and psycho social factors like inability to spend quality time with family add to the risk. The symptoms of heart disease in women were atypical and hence they tend to be either overlooked or treatment delayed. The symptoms could include fatigue and extreme sweating, which could be dismissed as fatigue due to exertion. One should go for preventive health check-up once a year after 45 years of age.
The incidence of Cardio Vascular Diseases (CVDs) among women was very less a few decades ago as they used to involve in a number of physical activities in the form of doing household chores. The lack of physical activity due to increasing use of electronic gadgets was a modifiable risk factor. Mobile phones were another factor leading to sedentary lifestyles. Dr. Hemamalini suggested that every family should have ‘gadget-free’ intervals every day to promote healthy lifestyles. Consumption of junk foods by ordering them online or buying them at the roadside ‘bajji’ stall and increased salt intake could prove to be a health hazard.
She underlined the importance of eating fruits fresh, produced locally, instead of choosing imported ones as fruits tend to lose nutrients with time. She suggested that both women and men could undergo basic life support training so that they could provide CPR (cardio pulmonary resuscitation) to save patients in an emergency.
Replying to queries, Dr. Hemamalini said that HDL (high density lipoprotein) cholesterol was ‘good cholesterol’ and exercise and physical activity could increase HDL levels. She attributed early menopause was due to hereditary factors, changes in lifestyle, stress and smartphones.
source: The hindu