Smoking, weight-loss mania is giving women more heart trouble than ever

  • PTI, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 20, 2016 10:12 IST
According to New Delhi’s National Heart Institute, there has been a 10% increase in heart disease and associated illnesses among women and 28% increase in people below 40 years in the last five years. (Shutterstock)

An increasing number of women are being diagnosed today with heart diseases and associated ailments because of a steady rise in unhealthy lifestyle practises such as smoking, following dangerous weight-loss programmes and not eating a balanced diet, finds a new study.

Data released by city-based National Heart Institute (NHI) says the number of women patients “admitted to the institute has gone up by 10% in the span of last five years”.

The NHI has based its study on the data for the period June 1, 2012 to August 10, 2016 and 1,20,444 patients.

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“In these five years, there has been a 10% increase in heart disease and associated illnesses among women and 28% increase in people below 40 years,” it said.

The premier heart institute’s findings also suggest that more and more pre-menopausal women are being treated for heart diseases due to lifestyle factors.

Voicing his concern over this issue, Dr Vinod Sharma, Head of Cardiology Services at NHI said, “The female hormone estrogen protects women’s heart till menopause. As the hormone levels drop around the age of 50-55, women start to catch up to men in CAD (coronary artery disease) rates.”

“However, today, this trend is changing, and pre-menopausal women are being diagnosed with heart disease. The reasons for this are an upward trend in cigarette smoking, dangerous weight-loss practices, consumption of an unhealthy diet, high-stress levels and less vigilant screening and treatment of heart disease in them,” he said.

NHI, which was established in 1981, says Indians also have a “four-fold” higher prevalence and death risk resulting from a heart attack when compared to population groups in the other parts of the world.

“There is an urgent need to raise mass awareness about the need to make timely lifestyle modifications and adopt effective stress management techniques for we are at more risk than ever before,” Sharma said.

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“It has been found that younger people and women stand an elevated risk of getting a heart disease today,” the NHI study says.

Seeking to inculcate healthy lifestyle among young people and raise awareness about coronary diseases, NHI on Tuesday kicked off a year-long outreach programme, as part of which it will target at least one school in Delhi-NCR per week.

NHI is the research and referral tertiary care heart hospital of the All India Heart Foundation, which acts as a nucleus for diagnosis and treatment of heart ailments and allied diseases.

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