Heart diseases and stroke are the leading cause of death in women-Prof. Nusrat Ara

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Heart Diseases in Women
Heart diseases and stroke are the leading
cause of death in women-Prof. Nusrat Ara
Women have some unique risk factors like
Pre-eclampsia, GDM, PCOS and early
menopause-Prof. Shahbaz Kureshi

ISLAMABAD: A special session was devoted to Heart Diseases in Women during the recently concluded CARDIOCON 2019 which was jointly chaired by Prof. Shahryar Sheikh and Dr. Amber Malik. Prof. Khalida Soomro from Karachi was the first speaker who pointed out that it is not the breast cancer but heart diseases which are more common in women in Pakistan. A study by American Heart Association has showed that heart diseases were a major problem in women. Lower level of educational attainments leads to higher prevalence of heart diseases. AHA has started a movement about heart diseases in women. Cardiovascular diseases are now the leading cause of death in women. She urged the healthcare professionals to take care of their health and it should be higher on their agenda.

Prof. Nusrat Ara from Rawalpindi discussed Cardiovascular Diseases in Asian Women. In her presentation she referred to the broken heart, bereaved heart and diseased heart of women. Heart diseases and stroke are the leading cause of death in women. She further pointed out that 23% of Asian World population was suffering from Women Ischemic Syndrome Evaluation (WISE). We have poor illiterate population in Asia. Cardiovascular diseases remain a low priority. Women suffer more from cardiovascular diseases in younger age and they have more aggressive disease. Cardiovascular diseases are under diagnosed, undertreated and under researched in women. Most of these patients present with chest discomfort, nausea, shortness of breath. Many of them consult pulmonologists or go to gynecologists. Young women with chest pain are at higher risk. Sudden cardiac death is more common in females. They also suffer from more severe heart failure and angina. They also have more micro vascular dysfunction. They fair better with PCI. Women can also have more complications during treatment, she added.

Dr. Sultana Habib in her presentation stated that heart failure in women is different. Almost 74% of them suffer from hypertension and they have less chamber size and LV mass. She opined that there was a need to include more women in clinical trials. Dr. Shazia Kazi discussed spontaneous coronary artery dissection in women.

Prof. Shahbaz Kureshi from Islamabad made a presentation on Prevention of CAD in Women. He pointed out that 7.4 million deaths occur worldwide from cardiovascular diseases. CVD deaths are two times more in less income countries including Pakistan. The most common risk factors in women include hypertension, diabetes mellitus, smoking, and dyslipidemias. Smoking, he remarked, has more potential for myocardial infarction in women. Then there are some unique risk factors in women like Pre-eclampsia, Gestational Diabetes Mellitus, PCOS, early menopause. More pregnancies lead to more hypertension and CAD in women. Pre-eclampsia increases the chances of sudden cardiac death. Gestational Diabetes Mellitus and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome increase the cardiovascular disease in women. Early menopause has its own risk. Almost 80% of autoimmune patients are women. He advocated aggressive risk factor modification. Leading cardiologists should present as role models for their patients. They should advise their patients to reduce the lipid levels. Don’t ignore symptoms in women, do cholesterol screening and use lipid lowering drugs in appropriate dosage. Studies have shown that women get less referral to Cath Labs. High risk women should be put on Low Dose Aspirin therapy but he also cautioned to keep the bleeding risk in mind. It is essential to identify these high risk women early and modify the risk factors aggressively, Dr. Shahbaz Kureshi concluded.

Dr. Samar Khawja talked about Go Red for Women’s Movement which takes care of realizing the risk, educating the women, don’t be silent and they must own their life style. It is also important that women should know and go for their Numbers.

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