Empowering Women’s Hearts: Expert Sheds Light On Prevention and Treatment On Heart Ailments

Empowering Women's Hearts: Expert Sheds Light On Prevention and Treatment On Heart Ailments

Empowering Women's Hearts: Expert Sheds Light On Prevention and Treatment On Heart Ailments

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Navigating heart wellness with preventive strategies for lifelong vitality.

14 June 2024

By Payoshi Bisht

Heart disease, often associated with men, remains a leading cause of mortality among women worldwide. However, the manifestation of symptoms and treatment approaches differ significantly between genders. Dr. Rajesh Bhat U, Associate Professor and Senior Interventional Cardiologist at KMC Hospital in Mangalore, sheds light on the nuances of heart disease in women and the imperative for awareness and proactive measures.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Contrary to the classic image of intense chest pain, women may experience subtler symptoms such as tightness or pressure in the chest. Dr. Bhat underscores the importance of recognising atypical symptoms like discomfort in the neck, jaw, shoulders or arms, shortness of breath, nausea, sweating or unusual fatigue. These symptoms, often disregarded or attributed to other conditions, necessitate heightened vigilance and prompt medical attention.

Despite similarities in treatment options, Dr. Bhat highlights disparities in the management of heart disease between men and women. While medication, angioplasty and bypass surgery are common modalities, women are less likely to receive preventive therapies like statins and aspirin, or undergo coronary bypass surgery. Cardiac rehabilitation, essential for recovery, is underutilised among women compared to men, further exacerbating gender disparities in heart disease management.

Dr. Bhat underscores the under-recognition and under-treatment of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in women, attributing it to various factors including hormonal influences and societal perceptions. He emphasises the need for heightened awareness and improved diagnostic tools to accurately assess CVD risk in women, particularly post-menopause. Early detection and optimal management of risk factors are imperative in reducing the burden of heart disease among women.

Preventative Measures

  • Regular Health Check-ups: Routine assessments of blood pressure, cholesterol levels and overall cardiovascular health are essential for early detection and intervention.
  • Heart-Healthy Diet: Emphasise a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, while limiting intake of saturated fats, cholesterol, sodium and added sugars.
  • Physical Activity: Engage in at least 50 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio activities or 25 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity per week to improve heart function, manage weight and lower blood pressure.
  • Avoid Tobacco and Alcohol: Refrain from smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, as these habits significantly increase the risk of heart disease and cardiovascular events.
  • Stress Management: Practise stress-reducing techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, yoga or hobbies to mitigate the impact of emotional stress on heart health.
  • Maintain Healthy Weight: Strive to achieve and maintain a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular physical activity, as obesity is a major risk factor for heart disease.
  • Regular Screening Tests: Undergo regular screenings for conditions such as diabetes and high cholesterol, which can increase the risk of heart disease if left untreated.