Heart disease is the biggest threat to women’s health around the world today. This is important information that women should know and avoid.
According to international studies, heart disease was once a male problem, but in recent decades women have closed in and overtaken men in deaths from heart disease.
The Cleveland Clinic report states that heart disease affects women of all ages and ethnicities, making it the leading cause of death among women worldwide. He further notes that many women are unaware that heart disease is seven times more deadly than breast cancer.
Meanwhile, researchers have found many sex-related differences in the cardiovascular system.
Studies have shown that women have smaller blood vessels and heart chambers, and the walls of their ventricles are thinner.
Also, women have fewer blood cells, therefore women cannot absorb or transport as much oxygen at any one time and are prone to heart failure. More so, body position, such as getting up or lying down quickly, affects women more than men, making them more likely to have sudden drops in blood pressure or pass out.
Hormones, estrogen and progesterone are dominant in women while testosterone dominates in men. These hormones can impact many aspects of overall health.
Studies have also shown that in women, as estrogen drops, they face a higher risk of blood clots, plaque in the arteries, and high cholesterol levels that can lead to stroke.
Additionally, although sleep apnea (a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts again) is common in both men and women, research has shown that a woman with Sleep apnea without treatment has a higher risk of hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke and test fibrillation. Therefore, sleep apnea treatment is very effective in reducing the risk.
An obstetrician and gynecologist, Dr. Kirtly Jones in a review said that, the risk of coronary heart disease in pre-nopausal women is much lower than men of the same age, but after menopause women start to catch up from by age 60, they had surpassed men in incidents of heart disease.
Dr Jones said some changes in midlife that increase risk are related to ovaries, menopause and aging.
According to him, “estrogen keeps the arteries elastic, after menopause women are at a higher risk of high blood pressure. Estrogen also helps keep good cholesterol a bit higher for reasons we don’t understand. , diabetes is also somewhat less likely before menopause, and diabetes is a risk factor for heart disease.”
He also said that as women age, they gain weight in the middle and exercise less. All of this increases the risk of hypertension, diabetes and heart disease which combine with problems related to the ovary. Risk factors include diabetes, overweight, obesity, poor diet, physical inactivity, excessive alcohol consumption and smoking.
According to reports published by Harvard Health Publishing (Harvard Medical School) before menopause, a woman’s estrogen helps protect her from heart disease by raising HDL (good) cholesterol and lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol. But after menopause, women have higher total cholesterol levels than men.
The report indicates that high triglycerides contribute significantly to cardiovascular risk in women. Additionally, low HDL and high triglycerides appear to be the only factors that increase the risk of death from heart disease in women over 65.
Research from Harvard Medical School therefore suggests that, for women, metabolic syndrome is the most important risk factor for heart attack at a generally early age.
These include a large waistline, high blood pressure, and glucose intolerance.
“Women who smoke are more likely to have a heart attack than men who smoke. For diagnosis and treatment, women have smaller and lighter coronary arteries than men. This makes angiography, angioplasty and coronary artery bypass surgery more difficult to perform, reducing a woman’s chances of receiving a correct diagnosis and having a good outcome,” the report states.
However, according to another view, a senior researcher and associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Dr. Erin Michos, revealed that mortality from cardiovascular disease is increasing among young women.
She noted that young women need to advocate for their own health. That they need to know their blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels and that they need to make sure that they receive treatment for these and other risk factors for heart disease.
“We know that women who have a history of preclampsia or gestational diabetes or premature birth are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Additionally, women who go through menopause before the age of 45 are at increased risk of heart disease. There is still this misconception that women are less at risk, especially if they are before menopause. But that’s not necessarily true,” she added.
She also said that stress leads to an increase in risk factors, “Women are not able to take care of themselves, they are last on the problem list,” she added.
Other studies explain that women now lead more stressful lives than men balancing corporate jobs with household responsibilities, noting that more women now smoke and drink all kinds of alcohol, making them more vulnerable.
Other research shows that stress can have a negative impact on health, making it important for women to understand their mind-body connection and how to focus on improving their physical health and mental well-being. . However, risk factors include high blood pressure, high LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) levels, cholesterol, and smoking.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States of America, symptoms of heart disease include full and heavy or sharp chest pain or discomfort, pain in the neck, jaw, or throat, or pain in the upper abdomen or back. These symptoms can occur at rest or during regular daily activities. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, indigestion, heartburn, upper body discomfort, dizziness and shortness of breath, palpitations, swelling in the feet, ankles, legs, abdomen or neck veins.
To reduce heart disease, women should regularly test for high blood pressure, diabetes, quit smoking, check blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, be more active, take at least 30 minutes of walking, limit alcohol consumption , manage their stress levels by finding healthy ways to cope
By: Ibinabo Ogolo