Many people believe that heart disease typically affects men. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of mortality not only among men, but also among women. But women are actually at greater risk if not detected early, and this exacerbates the issue.
Signs of poor heart health do not appear as visibly in women as it does in men. What this means is that if a man has a heart issue, there are specific symptoms like angina which can be spotted easily and the right course of action be recommended. The same issue in a woman may not result in a sign or symptom that can be easily spotted. So often, their symptoms go ignored or unrecognised and they do not receive timely intervention to correct the problem. The issue is so acute that today 1 in 3 deaths among women is due to coronary heart disease.
There is also a significant lack of self-awareness among women about risk factors and the prevention of CVDs. Women don't only attend to matters of the home, but they hold positions at leading companies, and continue to rise to the occasion and meet impossible demands on their time. Through all of this, they take care of the emotional needs of their family members and loved ones; and still culturally are predisposed to putting the needs of others before their own. The stress they experience, among other common risk factors, often goes unnoticed by those around them. And stress has a greater influence on CVD risk in women vs men. Along with stress, other factors like diet quantity and quality also have a greater influence on CVD risk in women vs men. Additionally, women are also impacted by female-specific risk factors for CVD like polycystic Ovarian syndrome PCOS, preeclampsia, pregnancy induced hypertension and gestational diabetes.
In such a situation where symptoms of a heart problem do not manifest visibly, it is extremely important for women to be aware of their own risk factors and adopt proactive measures to take care of their heart health. For example, one risk factor, stress has been linked to a greater intake of energy and nutrient-dense foods, mainly sources of sugar and fat, and to poor diet quality. Women can take simple steps like reducing unhealthy fats and products with high content of sugar and salt to improve the quality of their diet. Choose ingredients that are good for the heart, like oatmeal, wholegrains, fiber rich vegetables, blended oils with the right balance of fatty acids, legumes, soy products, and the like. Regular and consistent exercise, adequate sleep, and other such lifestyle modifications can help maintain heart health in the long term.
Furthermore with signs of poor heart health not manifesting visibly in women, it is crucial that they get regular health check-ups done to assess their risk proactively. Self-awareness and early identification of cardiovascular risk factors can lead to better prevention of CVD in women.
This World Heart Day, let's choose self-care. Get a simple heart check-up done and encourage other women in yourselves too, to get the same done. Take proactive steps for heart health today.
(By Brajesh Kunwar)
Read More► Myth or Fact: Exercise Must Be Avoided After A Heart Attack
Hyderabad- People suffering from arthritis should maintain an active lifestyle as physical exercise reduces inflammation by reducing fat and increasing the production and release of anti-inflammatory molecules, say doctors on World Arthritis Day.
Each year, October 12 is commemorated as World Arthritis Day, and this year, doctors recommend people to take a pledge to enhance awareness about arthritis, its related problems, to stay fit and active, and strive towards reducing the overall arthritis case burden in the country.
Arthritis is an autoimmune condition or a degenerative joint disorder, both causing inflammation in the joints, and these are chronic-cum debilitating problems. At present, there is no specified cure for this ailment, except to live with the problem and manage it from time to time, using steroids. Arthritis can cause severe pain, reduces the quality of life, and decrease people's ability to function.
Doctors warn that more Indians could become victims of arthritis-linked problems due to overweight and obesity. The prevalence of overweight and obesity in India is increasing faster than the world average.
The prevalence of overweight increased from 8.4 percent to 15.5 percent among women between 1998 and 2020, and the prevalence of obesity increased from 2.2 percent to 5.1 percent over the same period. Men are not behind in this problem, and together they are adding to the rising burden of arthritis cases in the country.
"Overweight or obesity along with problems like diabetes, suffering from a traumatic injury to joints, congenital joint deformities, could lead to arthritis problems. While there is a slight difference in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, both cause severe damage to human functions. And people who are obese are likely to suffer more than lighter peers after they cross a certain age threshold," said Jagan Mohan Reddy, Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon, SLG Hospitals.
According to K. Saketh, Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon (Sports Surgery & Regenerative Orthopedics), Gleneagles Global Hospital, severe pain in the joints deter arthritis patients from taking up any physical activity due to fear that it could worsen their condition.
"But it is important that individuals suffering from arthritis maintain an active lifestyle. Otherwise, a sedentary lifestyle will further debilitate their ability to do any physical activity, and this could have a severe psychological bearing on the mind. Hence, it is important arthritis patients do not stay immobile and instead motivate themselves to walk or exercise regularly."
Satyanarayana V V, Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon, Aware Gleneagles Global Hospital, pointed out that physical exercise reduces inflammation by reducing fat and increasing the production and release of anti-inflammatory molecules from human muscles.
"Given that inflammation is a primary cause of joint pain in arthritis, exercising will help improve symptoms and will play a crucial role in managing the problem," he said.
Read More► Myth or Fact: Exercise Must Be Avoided After A Heart Attack
A very common tip to improve heart health is to exercise regularly. But what form of exercise is best for the heart and how much exercise is too much? There have been several myths about the impact of exercise on the heart, while some sound reasonable, there are many that are inaccurate. One such myth is that one should avoid exercising after a heart attack.
Avoiding exercise for the first few weeks after a heart attack may be advised. However, studies show that supervised exercise helps in improving the outcome for all patients. It is important to note that after a heart attack, one should begin a regular activity program to reduce the chance of additional heart problems. Most patients are provided with a prescription for cardiac rehabilitation which entails an exercise program, diet instruction, educational classes on lifestyle changes and emotional support through a peer support group.
While everyone recovers at a different pace, here are a few guidelines that one may follow to get started:
Consult your doctor before starting exercise. Based on your heart disease, condition, heart function (ejection fraction), rhythm etc. Your doctor will give you an exercise prescription.
It is best to start slow. Once, you get used to walking regularly, you can increase your pace gradually over time. If shortness of breath is felt, it is best to slow down the walking pace.
Exercise should always be done in 3 phases warm-up, peak exercise and cool down, please.
What helps is walking at a moderate pace for the first 10 minutes the first time and each day tries to a few minutes more. At the end of the month aim to walk for 30 minutes on most days of the week.
It is important to keep in mind that one should cool down after finishing the exercise by gradually walking at a slower pace for the last 3 minutes.
If the patient walks outside the house, as a precaution they should walk with someone or in short distances close to home so they do not get too far away.
One should drink a glass of water to prevent dehydration before you start walking.
Choose an exercise or an activity that you enjoy doing. For example, walking, cycling, aerobics, etc.
Doctors' advice should be taken before lifting heavyweights.
Exercise should be done regularly to ensure benefits. 6 days a week of exercise is advisable.
Exercising at the same time daily is important to establish a habit. It also minimizes any variable that may impact the exercise.
If any symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest discomfort, palpitation occur and does not go away, one should stop the exercise and notify the doctor.
There are several changes that take place after a heart attack like energy levels and medications. This affects exercise tolerance. Therefore it is important to keep the exercise expectation day to day as one goes through the healing process.
If a patient does not go through cardiac rehabilitation, they should begin with gentle exercise after a heart attack. The amount of exercise that is advised to each patient will depend on how active the patient was before the cardiac event and how severe the event was. Overall, one must keep in mind that they should start exercising as soon as they can after a heart attack to get the energy and strength back.
Read More► Noise Pollution Increases Risk of Dementia
World Alzheimer's Day- Constant exposure to noise pollution may increase the risk of dementia caused due to Alzheimer's disease while music could have positive impact, say doctors.
According to a recent study published in international health journals around the world, constant exposure to traffic noise increases the risk of dementia among aged population.
Each year, September 21 is commemorated as the World Alzheimer's Day, and Alzheimer's disease has been found to be the commonest cause of dementia.
Doctors say with India fast racing towards becoming the most populated country in the world, and with improved healthcare delivery mechanism, aged population is on the rise in the country. This section of the society is at the risk of developing age-related complications like dementia, which is often considered a serious mental problem caused by brain disease or injury, that affects the ability to think, remember and behave normally.
Commenting on the problem, Sritheja Reddy, Consultant Neurologist, Gleneagles Global Hospital believes that music usually has a soothing effect on individuals of all ages, but loud and persistent noise can cause mental disturbance, and could even trigger experiences of ill being among those people who are suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's related problems. "Cities are usually bustling with great activity during the day times and in the nights, but this could increase exposure to excessive noise, that can lead to short term impairments in cognitive function, particularly with respect to the ability to focus and remember. And the most important aspect here is that chronic exposure to noise pollution may increase the risk for dementia," the doctor said.
Abhinay M. Huchche, Consultant Neurologist, SLG Hospitals says that musical sounds could have a positive impact on people suffering from dementia, caused due to Alzheimer's disease." Listening to or singing songs can provide emotional and behavioral benefits for people with Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia. Musical memories are often preserved in Alzheimer's disease because key brain areas linked to musical memory are relatively undamaged by the disease," he added.
Changala Praveen, Consultant - Neurophysician, Aware Gleneagles Global Hospital pointed out that ageing patients require extra attention, and those impacted by dementia require proper evaluation and management of the disease through a multidisciplinary approach. "Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause for dementia, and there are multiple reasons for aged population developing this problem. Constant exposure to loud and unsavoury sounds like traffic noise is also a major cause for the older people to develop dementia. People who have aged family members in the house must ensure the elderly are protected from loud noises, and this is the best solution to arrest complexities," he said.
Having exposure to high levels of noise during the night is especially concerning, as sleep is a critical period for mental and cognitive restoration. Fragmented sleep resulting from noise disturbance is associated with increased oxidative stress causes alterations in the immune system and increased systemic inflammation.
Read More► Are young Indians at a higher risk of heart disease?
This increased risk of heart disease in young Indians is due to a combination of inherited genes as well as environmental factors. Unfortunately, these environmental factors have only worsened the risk over time. Working long hours, often in stressful jobs and sleeping less has become the new normal in our lives. Modern work setups involve sitting a lot and not exercising and this can nearly double the risk of poor heart health.
A study conducted by Saffolalife in 2019 states that 58 per cent of people in top cities, between ages 30 to 40, who do not exercise regularly, are at greater risk of heart disease. Despite this 92 per cent of them do not consider lack of exercise among the top 3 risk factors for heart disease. This lack of awareness further exacerbates the issue.
Among younger people, we do see an increasing awareness about the importance of food in maintaining good health. But the reality also is that after a long and tiring day, it has often become easier to order in and give in to unhealthy food urges. With less exercise and eating junk food frequently, there is an increased chance of belly fat, which is another major risk factor for heart disease.
Thankfully, there is good news. Caring for your heart is not difficult. Once you are aware of the risk factors, you can take the right steps to reduce their impact. Making simple changes to your diet and lifestyle can really make a difference. The most important thing, however, is to be proactive; changes we make in our 30s and 40s can go a long way in keeping us heart-healthy.
In your 30s, it is a good idea to assess your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and general health every year. This can let you be aware of symptoms earlier and corrective action can be taken immediately. Develop healthy lifestyle habits like brisk walking for about twenty minutes a day, at least thrice a week. Try to take breaks between work hours for deep breathing exercises. Control stress with exercise and yoga, rather than emotional/stress eating or staying up late and binge-watching. Make simple and easy changes to your diet, like eating one portion of raw fruits and vegetables during snack-time every day. Try to include heart-healthy ingredients like nuts, green leafy vegetables, avocados and oats. Using heart-healthy oil can also be a great and easy change you can make.
Remember good lifestyle habits developed early on can help reduce heart risk. So make heart health a priority today.
(Sheryl Salis, Registered Dietitian, Founder -- Nurture Health Solutions)
There has been a massive influx of patients with post Covid hair loss, said doctors here on Thursday.
The sudden onset of hair loss -- Telogen effluvium -- is caused majorly due to stress, nutritional deficiency and inflammatory reactions caused by the infectious disease, the health experts explained.
Normally a person can lose up to 100 hair per day, but due to Telogen Effluvium it can increase up to 300-400 hair per day.
"We have seen a two-fold rise in the number of patients complaining of problems related to hair loss. Post Covid-19 inflammation has been a major contributor here. The deficiencies caused by a compromised nutritional intake, sudden changes in weight, hormonal disturbances and reduced vitamin D and B12 levels are some of the major reasons for the large volumes of hair loss post Covid-19," said Shahin Nooreyezdan, Senior Consultant, Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi.
However, the condition, which sets in 1-1.5 months after Covid is temporary and gets better with treatment in 2-3 months.
"Reason is the interruption of hair follicle growth due to an acute infection like Covid that pushes the hair into the shedding or dead phase (telogen phase). And the dead hair shed off after a few weeks automatically," said Sachin Dhawan, Senior Consultant, Department of Dermatology, Fortis Memorial Research Institute.
"For mild cases, recovery is automatic. In severe cases, a good hair supplement with biotin and amino acids, iron and other minerals is given, along with a peptide containing serum," Dhawan added.
During the post Covid-19 recovery, people must consume a nutritious diet along with natural edible sources of vitamins and iron. Iron deficiency can further accelerate the hair loss, and consumption of a protein rich and balanced diet can itself be a solution for reducing temporarily witnessed hair fall.
Besides eating healthy and taking nutritional supplements, one should also avoid heat and chemicals for hairstyling and refrain from following a sedentary lifestyle, the doctors recommended.
"It is only after waiting for 5-6 weeks post consuming a nutritious diet that people should consult a doctor if they still encounter an excessive hair loss. Moreover, some common hair care solutions that can be administered to avoid an excessive hair loss are; use of mild, paraben and sulphate free shampoos, keeping a close check on the itchy and flaky scalp, refrain from oiling and massaging the scalp, using a wide tooth comb and seeking immediate medical intervention in case of development of bald patches and getting huge volumes of hair fall," said Kuldeep Singh, Senior Consultant Cosmetology and Plastic Surgery, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi. (agency)