The World Heart Day, which is organized every year on September 29th, is a great opportunity for the Hellenic Society of Cardiology to highlight the importance of prevention, care, improvement of women’s health and their quality of life in general.
The perception that women are a low cardiovascular risk population needs to be revised, according to cardiologist Maria Papavasiliou. According to Ana, cardiovascular disease in women has a higher mortality than in men. At the same time, about 50% of women of childbearing age already have poor cardiovascular health. The need for greater awareness and awareness is essential. Heart health can be improved by focusing on existing gender specifics about the main cardiovascular risk factors such as:
- Arterial hypertension
- Diabetes mellitus
- Metabolic syndrome
- Poor nutrition
- Lack of exercise and a sedentary lifestyle
- Psychosocial factors
- Family history
Cardiovascular risk factors for women at an early age increase their future cardiovascular risk and require special care and treatment. Lifestyle modification with smoking cessation, regular exercise, avoidance of sedentary lifestyle, weight maintenance, healthy eating and moderate alcohol intake, are essential for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.
The factors that threaten women’s hearts-why women are seen as more vulnerable than men;
Cardiovascular diseases in women are underdiagnosed and under-treated both in Greece and globally. Although awareness of cardiovascular disease in women has increased in recent years, women and doctors still underestimate cardiovascular risk in women.
As the director of the cardiology clinic at GNA Sismanoglio explains, Anastasia Kitsiou, speaking to Ana, due to the widespread view that women are protected from estrogen until menopause, many younger women mistakenly believe that they are invulnerable. This has the effect of increasing the cardiovascular risk of these women.
When it comes to acute coronary syndromes, women may often experience different, non-typical symptoms compared to men. That is, they may experience shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting and atypical pain. As a result, the underdiagnosis of acute coronary syndromes in women and the failure to provide or delay the application of appropriate medication and/or interventional management.
Also in chronic, cardiovascular diseases, women receive a lower rate of treatment in line with the guidelines, compared to men. In addition, gender-related cardiovascular risk factors are not taken into account. Such factors can be:
- Premature menopause
- diabetes and gestational hypertension
- history of preterm birth
- the history of miscarriage,
- polycystic ovary syndrome
- history of hysterectomy
- increased incidence of autoimmune diseases in women
Polycystic ovaries and cardiovascular risk: there is a link;
Polycystic ovary syndrome is one of the most common endocrine disorders in women, whose incidence increases gradually. In recent years, this disease has been under the microscope of researchers regarding its association with cardiovascular diseases.
Although clinical studies are not clear, it is thought that women with polycystic ovaries should be treated as people at increased risk for cardiovascular disease. The risk factors that coexist, according to Maria Marketou, Associate Professor of Cardiology at the University Hospital of Heraklion, must be modified early and aggressively. Polycystic ovary syndrome is associated with obesity that occurs as early as adolescence. Obesity is known to be associated with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Also, in the pathogenetic mechanisms of the disease, various cardiometabolic pathologies such as insulin resistance, hyperlipidemia, diabetes mellitus and hypertension are often involved. The above are the main factors that lead to cardiovascular diseases and problems with the heart.
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However, although most meta-analyses have shown that these women have a higher incidence of coronary heart disease, myocardial infarctions and strokes, there is a need to design larger and longer-term studies that will better highlight the Association of the syndrome with cardiovascular disease.