Women’s heart health is an important issue, and statistics point very much to the grim issues surrounding women’s heart health across the globe and particularly in India.
The Reason for neglect
A woman often neglects or gives less priority to her health over the health of her family members. It may be due to lack of time, poor finances, financial dependency, or societal norms. But the impact is for everyone to witness. For example, heart or cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are women’s leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for 35% of all deaths. Surprised? Approximately 17.9 million people die from CVDs annually, and 8.6 million are women. Further, women are more likely to die from CVDs than men and are more likely to have a delayed diagnosis and treatment of CVDs. Risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, physical inactivity, and obesity. India, which is currently called the diabetes capital of the world, unfortunately, is not far behind in becoming the heart disease capital of the world. In India, CVDs are the leading cause of death for women, accounting for 25% of all deaths. In addition, women in India are at a higher risk of developing CVDs than women in other countries, and they are also more likely to have a heart attack at a younger age. Risk factors for CVDs in Indian women include a high prevalence of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and physical inactivity. In addition, women in India often have less access to healthcare and are less likely to seek medical attention when they experience symptoms of heart disease.
Impact on the family
The illness or death of a woman has severe and far-reaching consequences for her family’s health. Yet, usually, we only focus on reproductive health when it comes to her health issues. We believe civil society, government, academia, and corporates have a solid reason to collaborate and create awareness about Women’s Heart Health. Inspired by American Heart Association’s Go Red Campaign, Arogya World asked Indian women to #WearRedForHer. Throughout the month, Arogya World MyThali shared important heart health messaging on different social media platforms, including India’s most prominent women entrepreneur platform (Sheroes) and Bangalore’s largest foodie group (Bangalore Foodies Club). With key chefs, influencers, and health experts’ involvement, the campaign reached over 10.3 million.
Own it up!
While steps are being taken, women need to take ownership and accountability for their health to reduce their risk of heart disease, including maintaining a healthy diet, engaging in regular physical activity, not smoking, and managing risk factors such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol. In addition, routine health check-ups with a healthcare provider can help identify and address potential risk factors for heart disease.
Kriti Pradhan, Head- Communication Arogya World