Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in India, accounting for one in three deaths each year. However, many women are unaware of their risk factors for heart disease or the unique challenges they face.
Unique Aspects of Women's Heart Health
Women face a number of unique challenges to their heart health, including:
Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes throughout a woman’s life, such as pregnancy, menopause, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), can increase the risk of heart disease.
Social determinants of health: Women are more likely to experience social determinants of health that can increase the risk of heart disease, such as poverty, lack of access to healthcare, and exposure to violence or trauma.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) masquerading as other conditions: Women are more likely to experience atypical symptoms of CVD, such as shortness of breath, fatigue, and nausea, which can be mistaken for other conditions, such as asthma, anxiety, or the flu.
Underdiagnosis and undertreatment: Women are less likely to be diagnosed and treated for heart disease than men, even when they have the same symptoms.
Understanding the risk factors for heart disease
The risk factors for heart disease include:
Age: The risk of heart disease increases with age.
Family history of heart disease: Having a family history of heart disease increases your risk.
High blood pressure: High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease.
High cholesterol: High cholesterol can build up in your arteries and block blood flow to the heart.
Smoking: Smoking damages your blood vessels and increases your risk of heart disease.
Diabetes: Diabetes can damage your blood vessels and nerves, and increase your risk of heart disease.
Obesity: Obesity is a major risk factor for heart disease.
Physical inactivity: Physical inactivity increases your risk of heart disease.
Addressing the unique challenges to women’s heart health
There are a number of things women can do to address the unique challenges to their heart health, including:
Be aware of your risk factors: Knowing your risk factors for heart disease can help you take steps to reduce your risk.
Talk to your doctor: Talk to your doctor about your risk factors for heart disease and what you can do to reduce your risk.
Make healthy lifestyle choices: Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight can all help to reduce your risk of heart disease.
Get regular checkups: Get regular checkups and screenings for heart disease and other health conditions.
Women can also advocate for themselves and their heart health by:
- Educating themselves about heart disease and the unique challenges women face.
- Talking to their doctors about their concerns and making sure they are getting the care they need.
- Supporting other women to take care of their heart health.
- By understanding and addressing the unique challenges to women’s heart health, women can reduce their risk of heart disease and live longer, healthier lives.
Tips for women to keep their heart healthy
- Eat a healthy diet that is low in saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, and sodium.
- Exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Don’t smoke.
- Manage stress.
- Get regular check-ups and screenings.
If you have any concerns about your heart health, talk to our expert doctors at TX Hospitals. They can help you assess your risk for heart disease and develop a plan to reduce your risk and stay healthy.
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