0718 GMT July 17, 2019
Women are not diagnosed or treated as aggressively as men. A classic example of this is the fact that even though more women than men die of heart disease each year, women receive only 33 percent of all angioplasties, stents and bypass surgeries; 28 percent of implantable defibrillators and 36 percent of open-heart surgeries, according to the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease
According to theindianawaaz.com, the Indian National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) 2015/16 showed that less than two-thirds (63 percent) of married women have any say in their own health care or other household decisions. And 30 percent of women experienced physical violence since the age of 15. Further, 33 percent of married women experienced physical violence, 14 percent sexual violence and seven percent spousal sexual violence. Given that about 59 crore of India’s population is composed of women, there is a need to empower them in terms of access to basic health rights.
In an earlier report on women and health, the WHO had indicated that although women tend to live longer, they do not stand to gain from the greater longevity, particularly in parts of Asia.
This is due to factors including gender discrimination, and violence against them – which is also an additional risk to their health.
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr. KK Aggarwal, President of Heart Foundation of India (HCFI), said: “Women are an integral and indispensable part of any family and therefore, they should receive equal attention and care. It is imperative to spread awareness on the fact that women too are prone to serious health problems, which if diagnosed and treated at the right time can help in preventing further complications.
Some such health issues in them include cancers of the breast and cervix, heart diseases, pregnancy complications, etc.”
Metabolic syndrome — a combination of increased blood pressure, elevated blood glucose and triglycerides — has a greater impact on women than men. Mental stress and depression affect women’s hearts more. Smoking is much worse for women than men.
Further, Dr. Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “Ask all women who are older than 45 for a heart check-up. Make them aware of the need to get timely health check-ups at various stages of life. Ask all young women to do minimum of 60 to 90 minutes of moderate-to-intensity activity (brisk walking) on most, and preferably all, days of the week. Ask women to change their lifestyle to include weight control, increased physical activity, sodium restriction and an emphasis on eating fresh fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products.”