Cover Story -Purvi Desai
According to a report, about 2.64 million people died of heart disease in 2017, of which 1.18 million were women! Yes, this is the reality. Till now the common beliefs were that women are less prone to heart attacks as compared to men, but this debate has raised its head again after former Miss Universe and our very fit and fine actress Sushmita Sen suffered an attack.
The American Health Association has also debunked the common belief that heart attacks are more common in men. According to this association, cases of heart attack have been seen more among women than men for the past few years. Statistics say that the number of people who die every year in India due to CVD i.e. Cardio Vascular Disease accounts for half that is about 17.7 million! What is this Cardio Vascular Disease means heart disease in simple language.
There are different types and causes of this heart disease. Like coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension etc., but the most sensitive and dangerous of all these can be called heart attack. In simple terms, one of the major reasons for this is the disorders that occur in the blood vessels and due to which the efficiency of the heart is hampered. A heart attack occurs when the flow of blood carrying oxygen to the heart muscle is blocked or completely stopped. This can cause the heart to stop beating or change the rhythm of the heart to such an extent that the person is on the brink of death.
Dr. Tapan, who serves as a medical officer at a hospital in Daman, says that the rate of heart attacks among women has increased significantly in recent times. So now it is being proved wrong that attack comes only to men. Explaining the reason for this, he says that the main causes of heart attack are smoking, stress, bad and irregular eating habits and sedentary lifestyle. It used to be that the rate of smoking among women was very limited and also women have more general endurance than men so stress did not affect them much. Most of the housework was done by women themselves so there was no problem of sedentary life and besides this eating outside was also restricted. Due to all these reasons, the risk of heart attacks in women used to be very low, but in the present modern times, when there is a radical change in every field, the mentality of women and their condition have also changed a lot. As now most of the women are taking care of the house as well as the job or business. So it is natural that their stress level has increased manifold compared to before. Apart from this, now due to work, there are mostly servants at home, many appliances like washing machine, refrigerator are also available, so physical labor has also reduced. And it is also a reality that many modern women have succumbed to addictions like alcohol and cigarettes! Another important reason is negligence of women. Women who take care of the whole house are mostly indifferent to their health. He ignores his body and the symptoms of the disease to such an extent that it affects his heart as well. When such women get an attack, they realize how much they neglected their body. By the time this is realized, it is too late.
Doctors draw attention to another important point and say that the symptoms of heart attack in women and men are completely different. This is also one of the reasons why it is too late to know. There are reasons why these traits are different. One is that there is a lot of difference in the physical structure of both. Women’s hearts are slightly smaller than men’s. In addition, women’s heart walls are also slightly thinner than men’s. Because of this, women’s hearts pump ten percent less blood than men’s hearts.
When women are stressed, their hearts pump more blood than necessary. In contrast, when men are stressed, their hearts pump less blood than necessary. In general, chest pain is a common symptom of heart disease, but according to a report from the Cleveland Clinic Medical Center in America, this symptom is not often seen in women. Know what are the symptoms of heart attack in women. In the same report, it is stated that women do not have chest pain like men, but they can feel a weight on the heart and sometimes feel very restless, i.e. restlessness. Apart from this, back pain, pain in hands, neck and jaws can also occur. Also, a very important thing is that these pains do not necessarily occur only when the attack occurs. Women may experience pain about fifteen days or even months before. If the pain doesn’t get relieved in two or three days with the usual medicines, then a checkup should be done immediately. Another symptom is fatigue. Women should be alert when they feel that doing even small tasks requires a lot of effort. Apart from this, difficulty in breathing, sudden sweating etc. are also common symptoms seen in women with heart disease. Apart from this, abdominal pain can also be a symptom of heart disease which is commonly seen in women. So, if you have stomach ache for a long period of time, it is wise to get a heart check up instead of treating it as food poisoning or any other stomach ailment.
What can be done to keep the heart healthy? According to Dr. Tapan, women take good care of the food and drink of the whole house, but when it is their turn, they become a little careless. So now carelessness towards diet will not work. Grains and also whole grains which are called millets in English i.e. millet, jowar, ragi etc. should be included in the daily diet. Now that physical labor has reduced due to work and even at home due to increasing conveniences like washing machines and doorbells, sweets and other things that are difficult to digest should be excluded from the diet. At least seven hours of sleep must be taken between working hours and running. Sleep is very important for women who wake up early and rush to the office.
You will be shocked to know but almost 2 million women in the US die because of smoking cigarettes! It is very important to be aware of this when the rate of smoking among women is increasing surprisingly in India as well. Another important thing is exercise. About thirty minutes of light exercise a day will keep the heart healthy. In today’s time when women are handling both home and office then stress management is very important. Hormonal changes are also a major cause of stress in women. Being aware of the changing hormones in the body and taking appropriate measures can keep stress at bay.