heart disease: yoga, brisk walking and diet control: how women can fight heart disease

Age may just be a number! For women, adopting a healthy lifestyle can certainly reduce the risk of heart disease. No one is too old to start taking care of their well-being, which is the pinnacle of self-care.

A healthy heart, which is the center of your cardiovascular system, is central to this self-care routine. The heart pumps nutrient-rich blood to the rest of your body and is, in essence, an important organ that represents everything that brings your body to life. From transporting oxygen to supporting the immune system, the heart remains a vital cog.

Although scientific innovation has helped to treat various diseases, several health problems persist. Today, heart disease is among the most common causes of death in the world.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared cardiovascular disease (CVD) to be one of the leading causes of death worldwide. In 2019, no less than 17.9 million people died from cardiovascular diseases, or about 32% of all deaths worldwide. Of these, 85% were due to heart attack and stroke. In India, heart disease appears to be among the leading causes of death.

A matter of concern

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According to the Global Burden of Disease Study, 24.8% of all deaths in India are due to cardiovascular diseases. However, cases of cardiovascular disease among women in India are on the rise. According to a recent Lancet study, while the prevalence of cardiovascular disease in women is declining globally, India has seen a 10% increase.

“Emerging risk factors in women are Metabolic Syndrome, PCOD, Highly Sensitive CRP, Hypothalamic Amenorrhea. Socio-economic factors are also contributing to the increase in cardiovascular disease among women in India and these factors include low levels of education, social isolation, inequality and poor job prospects The main symptoms of cardiovascular disease in women are discomfort with exertion, shortness of breath, palpitations and frequent fatigue says Dr. Subrata Lahiri, Director of Cardiology, Parmanand Artemis Heart Center.

In ischemic heart disease (coronary heart disease), the risk factors in women are similar to those in men. These factors are mainly related to age, hereditary conditions, smoking, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and a sedentary lifestyle.

“Before menopause, the risk in women is equal to that of men. This is because female hormones protect the heart. However, after menopause, the risk of heart disease and heart attack increases. Often women’s heart health is not a priority because there is a general myth that women do not develop heart problems. But this is not true. In women, blocked coronary arteries are very common. After pregnancy, they may also suffer from post-pregnancy cardiac dysfunction,” explains Dr. Manish Bansal, Director, Clinical and Preventive Cardiology, Heart Institute, Medanta Hospital.

Dismantle the myth

There have been several misconceptions surrounding women and heart disease, including that women are rarely prone to heart disease. In 2020, the National Family Health Survey report found that undiagnosed hypertension among women aged 15-49 was 18.69%. Women in urban areas reported the most cases with 21.73%, rural areas reported 17.09%.

“Heart disease or heart attacks are thought to be more common in men than in women. But, now it has been observed that the number of cases is similar to that of men. Also, women tend to experience unusual symptoms of heart attacks, which delays seeking medical care, leading to more complications and poor outcomes. The recent increase in heart disease among women can be attributed to greater awareness of the disease leading to better diagnosis, increased stress, depression, smoking, decreased physical activity, an increase in obesity, diabetes and hypertension,” says Dr. Rohit Goel, consultant in interventional cardiology. , Fortis Memorial Research Institute.

Steps to a healthy heart:

  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Add healthy fruits, vegetables and grains
  • Opt for plant-based proteins or low- or no-fat dairy products
  • Use vegetable liquid oils
  • Choose foods with fewer processing steps
  • Junk colas, meal with added sugars
  • Opt for less salt in meals
  • Quit smoking and alcohol
  • Take a brisk walk
  • 45 minutes of yoga and pranayama can improve overall health
  • Avoid sitting too long
  • In the office, try to stand for 5-10 minutes every half hour

As the famous saying goes, prevention is better than cure, applies to everyone. Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, claiming millions of lives each year. However, heart ailments can be controlled, treated and changed by adopting some healthy mantras into our lifestyle.