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Women and Heart Health - Recognizing Risk Factors and Prioritizing Prevention

Women and Heart Health – Recognizing Risk Factors and Prioritizing Prevention

Author -  Dr Ekawali Gupta

MBBS, MS Degree in OBG, 

Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Mohali.

Women and Heart Health - Recognizing Risk Factors and Prioritizing Prevention

Understanding the Importance of Women’s Heart Health in India: Heart health is a critical issue for women in India, where changing lifestyle patterns and socio-economic conditions have led to an increase in cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Traditionally perceived as a lesser risk for women, heart diseases are now being recognized as a significant health concern. According to Dr Ekawali Gupta , MBBS, MS Degree in OBG, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist the need for awareness and proactive measures is more crucial than ever, as these conditions not only impact individual lives but also pose a broader social and economic challenge.

Redefining Awareness and Action for Heart Health: The conversation around heart health in India has predominantly focused on men, leaving women’s unique health needs in the shadows. This article aims to bridge that gap by shedding light on the distinct risk factors, symptoms, and preventive strategies pertaining to heart health in women. It emphasizes the critical role of regular health screenings and lifestyle choices in mitigating heart disease risks, and how early intervention can significantly improve health outcomes.

Unique Risks for Women’s Heart Health in India

Prevalence and Impact on Indian Women: Heart disease in Indian women is a growing concern, with studies indicating a rising trend in cardiac issues among this demographic. While traditionally heart diseases were associated with men, the reality today is starkly different. For Indian women, heart health risks escalate particularly post-menopause, but younger women are not immune. Factors like high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol play a significant role, along with a lack of awareness and delayed diagnosis contributing to the severity of the situation.

Age-Related Risks and Menopause: The risk of heart diseases in women significantly changes with age. Prior to menopause, women generally have a lower risk of heart diseases compared to men, partly due to the protective effects of estrogen. However, this risk increases post-menopause, when estrogen levels decline, leading to an increased risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart failure. Understanding these age-related risks is crucial for effective prevention and management of heart diseases in women.

Gender-Specific Symptoms and Diagnosis Challenges

Atypical Symptoms in Women: Heart attack symptoms in women often differ from the classic symptoms experienced by men. While chest pain is a common symptom for both genders, women are more likely to experience atypical symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea, back or jaw pain, and fatigue. This divergence in symptoms can lead to misdiagnosis or delayed treatment, as these symptoms are often mistaken for less severe conditions.

Gender Disparities in Heart Health Care: The healthcare system has historically been more attuned to male-centric symptoms and treatment of heart diseases, leading to disparities in how women’s heart health issues are diagnosed and managed. Women are less likely to receive aggressive treatment post-heart attack and are more likely to have their symptoms dismissed or misdiagnosed. This gap in healthcare, compounded by socio-cultural factors that often prioritize men’s health, places women at a higher risk of adverse outcomes.

Lifestyle Factors Influencing Heart Health

Diet, Exercise, and Stress: Lifestyle choices play a significant role in heart health. For Indian women, balancing professional and personal responsibilities often leads to neglecting dietary needs and physical activity. A diet high in trans-fats, sugar, and salt, coupled with sedentary habits, contributes significantly to heart disease risk. Moreover, chronic stress, common in fast-paced urban environments, exacerbates these risks, impacting heart health negatively.

Urban Lifestyle and Professional Stress: The urban lifestyle presents unique challenges for women’s heart health. Increased professional responsibilities and societal pressures can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as poor diet and lack of exercise. Stress management is often overlooked, yet it is a crucial factor in preventing heart diseases. Emphasizing the importance of a balanced diet, regular physical activity, and stress reduction techniques is essential for heart health, particularly for women in urban settings.

The Importance of Regular Screenings and Early Detection

Emphasizing Heart Health Screenings: Regular health screenings play a pivotal role in early detection of heart diseases, particularly for women. In India, where health check-ups are often neglected, especially among women, emphasizing the importance of regular screenings is crucial. Screenings like blood pressure checks, cholesterol levels, ECGs, and stress tests should be a routine part of healthcare, especially for those with a family history of heart diseases or other risk factors such as diabetes or obesity.

The Significance of Early Detection: Early detection of heart diseases can significantly improve treatment outcomes and reduce the risk of severe complications. For Indian women, understanding and recognizing the early signs of heart issues is key. Awareness campaigns and health education should focus on educating women about symptoms and the necessity of timely medical consultation. This can not only save lives but also reduce the long-term impact of heart diseases on women’s health.

Prevention Strategies and Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Diet and Exercise for Heart Health: A heart-healthy diet and regular exercise are fundamental in preventing heart diseases. For Indian women, incorporating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins is essential. Limiting the intake of saturated fats, trans fats, and sugars can also contribute to better heart health. Additionally, engaging in regular physical activities like brisk walking, yoga, or swimming can help maintain a healthy weight, reduce stress, and improve overall cardiovascular health.

Stress Management and Mental Well-being: Mental health and stress management are integral to preventing heart diseases. Chronic stress, common among women juggling multiple roles, can have adverse effects on heart health. Techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, and adequate rest are vital for mental well-being. Creating a supportive environment, both at home and at work, can help in managing stress and promoting heart health. Community support groups and counseling can also be beneficial in addressing mental health concerns that impact heart health.


Emphasizing the Priority of Women’s Heart Health: The significance of heart health for women in India cannot be overstated. In a landscape where lifestyle changes and socio-economic factors contribute to rising cardiovascular risks, it becomes imperative to focus on proactive health management. Recognizing the unique challenges women face regarding heart diseases, from atypical symptoms to gender-specific risk factors, is a crucial step towards better health outcomes.

Advocating for Comprehensive Health Strategies: To effectively combat heart diseases in women, a multi-faceted approach is needed. This involves not only individual efforts in terms of regular health screenings and adopting healthier lifestyle choices but also broader initiatives from healthcare systems and policymakers. By ensuring that women’s heart health is addressed with the same diligence and urgency as men’s, we can begin to close the gap in healthcare disparities.

The Role of Community and Support Networks: The fight against heart diseases in women is not just a medical challenge but a social one as well. Building strong support networks, increasing community awareness, and promoting education about heart health are integral. Empowering women with the knowledge and resources to manage their heart health effectively can lead to a transformative shift in the way heart diseases are perceived and treated in India.

Looking Forward to a Healthier Future: As we move forward, the goal should be to create an environment where women’s heart health is a priority, not an afterthought. Encouraging regular medical check-ups, fostering environments that support mental well-being, and advocating for gender-specific research in heart health are key. Together, we can work towards a future where every woman in India has the opportunity to lead a heart-healthy life.

Dr Ekawali Gupta will respond to your query as soon as possible. For emergencies please call and reach Motherhood Hospital, Mohali.

At Motherhood Hospitals, we have a team of experienced supers specialists backed by the latest infrastructure and facilities. We have the best gynaecologist in Mohali. We are experts in handling complex deliveries, gynaecological, and other surgeries including a range of laparoscopic surgeries. 

Do take an appointment with the best woman care hospital in Mohali at a centre closest to you. Meet with our doctors who will carry out the required investigations, diagnose the issue and recommend the most appropriate treatment, enabling you to lead an active life. 

If you wish to get in touch with Dr. Ekawali Gupta, please book your appointment here.

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