Heart disease has become the leading cause of death among men and women around the world as well as in India. The risk of heart disease for both sexes is serious, but heart disease affects men and women differently. More than one crore of annual deaths are reported in India and cardiovascular disease (CVD) causes 20.3% of deaths in men and 16.9% of deaths in women. Despite a lower death rate than men, reports often suggest that women are at higher risk of CVD-related deaths.
Another Indian study reports that the incidence of sudden cardiac death is estimated to be three to four times higher in men than in women. It is also reported that about 75% of sudden cardiac deaths occur in men.
Thus, there does not appear to be a conclusive understanding of which heart is most at risk when it comes to cardiovascular disease.
Dr Vanita Arora of Max Super Specialty Hospital listed the following:
-How heart disease affects men and women differently
The biology and physiology of men and women are very different, which defines how we deal with various diseases. Heart disease affects men and women in different ways:
Cholesterol Blockages: Cholesterol deposition in the heart arteries occurs more on the surface of the large heart arteries, while in women it occurs in smaller vessels. This creates false indications of a heart attack in women only to reveal that the major arteries are doing well.
Deposits in small arteries can pose a major risk: just because small vessels are affected early due to cholesterol deposits does not mean the patient is not at risk. They can turn out to be silent killers because the symptoms may not be as pronounced as with large arteries. Comparatively, bypass surgery is easier to perform in large arteries.
Lifestyle Changes and Their Effects: Over the past decade, things have changed a lot, with coronary heart disease (CAD) appearing in the younger age group. Lifestyle changes have had a huge impact on the health of women in India. On the one hand, sedentary lifestyle is a major factor that must be blamed, and on the other hand, with stress and bad eating habits, smoking and the consumption of oral contraceptives have contributed to the increase in heart disease. an early age. In comparison, the development of CAD at a younger age increased in men. Previously, men developed heart disease by the age of 50. Today, more and more men in their late twenties are developing heart disease.
Stress coping mechanisms: Men and women have different stress coping mechanisms. The presence of higher levels of oxytocin in women makes it easier for women to cope with stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine, which together increase blood pressure and sugar levels. Additionally, women cope with stress with emotional responses, including tender and friendly responses, which are traditionally lacking in men who often display fight-or-flight responses. However, in the Indian context, women generally act as caregivers and their health takes a back seat in the family. This prevents early medical consultation and diagnosis.
Experiencing Symptoms Differently: Men and women experience some of the symptoms of heart disease differently. Men usually suffer from the classic pattern of angina with pain in the left side of the chest, while women are more likely to have atypical angina, characterized by discomfort in the shoulders, back and chest. by the neck.
According to Dr Amit Gupta of Columbia Asia Hospital, Gurugram, medical researchers and scientists around the world are trying to identify a possible association of how heart disease manifests differently in men and women, in order to personalize the health care solutions for both sexes and also to educate with appropriate preventive measures.
âThe fundamentals of heart health based on current results remain the same. It is important that associated factors such as obesity, hypertension and high cholesterol are managed, diabetes is prevented, and alcohol and tobacco use is avoided. What is needed instead is increased physical activity and healthy eating habits, as these factors are important for both sexes, âGupta concluded.
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