Women are caregivers & caretakers of the family and their being healthy is of utmost importance. But most of the times they are so busy caretaking that they ignore their health and so does everyone else very conveniently, including family, community and doctors also at times.
Do you know India will have the largest heart disease burden by 2020? Most of us believe that CAD i.e. Coronary Artery Disease is the disease of men, and women only have to worry about mammography & Gynaecology visit. In fact, the world over, 50,000 women die of heart disease every year. One woman dies every minute from cardiovascular disease in the U.S.
Dr. Anupam Goel says that other than awareness, it’s the diagnosis & treatment of heart disease that contributes to excess mortality in women. Each year more women die of cardiovascular disease as compared to other diseases. For every woman that dies from breast cancer, there are six that die from heart disease and unfortunately, younger women are at a higher risk as compared to die from CAD as compared to older women.
When to see a doctor?
Heart disease in women does not have any typical presentation like retrosternal chest heaviness in men. One should see the doctor if there are any of the following complaints:-
- Difficulty in breathing especially while going upstairs or walking fast
- Unusual fatigue or dullness
- Gastritis like feeling/burning in chest
- Pain abdomen or pain in shoulders, back, arms or hands
- Nausea, vomiting or feeling of indigestion
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
An atypical presentation can cause a delay in identifying the growing risk of heart diseases in women, thereby leading to the worst outcome. In general one in five women has some form of CVD Cardiovascular and almost one-third of women who have a heart attack die within one year.
Though heart disease can occur without any apparent risk factor also, common risk factors are:-
- Dyslipidemia (explore of good cholesterol HDC)
- Sedentary lifestyle (Physical inactivity)
- Family history of CAD
Awareness about CAD in women is growing in developed countries like the US where they do a special campaign like RED Dress. Sundays are being observed for making women aware of heart disease risk but we have a long way to go in developing countries like India.
Widespread awareness, early recognition of symptoms and diagnosis of CAD is of utmost importance to save invaluable lives of caregivers of the society.