The image of the super woman, constantly juggling home and work, may often be projected as a mark of progress but health experts are not celebrating it. Sixty-five per cent doctors believe that the lack of oestrogen hormone, which is due to changing lifestyle and other co-morbid conditions such as obesity, hypertension and diabetes, is among the top five reasons responsible for younger women developing cardiovascular diseases. This was revealed in a recent survey on “Visualizing the Extent of heart Disease in Indian women, VEDNA,” that aimed to map the trends of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) in Indian women.
The survey, covering almost 600 healthcare professionals of metros and non-metro cities, found that cardiologists observed a 16-20 per cent of overall growth rate in cardiovascular diseases among women in the last five years. “Lately, there has been a rise in number of female cardiovascular patients. The trend may be attributed to changing lifestyle which is bringing such drastic hormonal changes that the oestrogen hormone’s heart-protecting effect is getting nullified,” said Dr Nitin S Patki, cardiologist, Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital, Pune.
The predisposition of Indian women to the “apple” shaped body and high visceral fat came out as one of the most interesting findings of the survey. Among other findings, 83 per cent of the doctors believed that Indian women are ignorant about heart diseases, while 76 per cent observed that women die of heart diseases due to late presentation to the hospital.
“It is frequently noticed that women often overlook symptoms and discomfort pertaining to heart diseases, and rarely consult an expert. Even if they do opt for expert’s consultation, more often than not, they discontinue the treatment as soon as they get symptomatic relief. The compliance rate is comparatively poor among women,” said Dr Archana Sathe, cardiologist, Cardiac Care and Counselling Centre, Pune.
Dr Patki also added that considering the fact that working women have to juggle between home and work responsibilities, they are more likely to get exposed to stress and unhealthy lifestyle and therefore could be more prone to cardiovascular diseases as compared to non-working women.