International Women’s Day – 8th March: Focus on the heart of your beloved

Dr KK AggarwalPadma Shri and Dr B C Roy National Awardee
President, Heart Care Foundation of India
National Vice President Elect IMA

All women are at risk of heart disease and on this International Women’s Day, give them a health checkup said Padma Shri and Dr B C Roy national Awardee Dr KK Aggarwal and National Vice President-Elect IMA and President Heart Care Foundation of India and Dr Anita Kant Sr Gynecologist at Faridabad.

Heart Care Foundation of India and IMA New Delhi Branch released the following guidelines:

1. Ask all women who are older than 65 for a heart check up.

2. Ask all young women to do minimum of 60-90 minutes of moderate-intensity activity (brisk walking) on most, and preferably all, days of the week.

3. Make women aware that their hearts are different. Women get less attention when they have a heart attack; also, the attack is more serious. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women over 65. Urban women are 4 to 6 times more likely to die of heart disease than of breast cancer. Heart diseases kill more women over 65 than all cancers combined.

4. Make women aware that they develop heart problems later in life than men — typically 7 or 8 years later. However, by about age 65, a woman’s risk is almost the same as a man’s. They are less likely to survive heart attacks than men.

5. Ask women to change their lifestyle that include weight control, increased physical activity, alcohol moderation, sodium restriction and an emphasis on eating fresh fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products.

6. Help women to quit smoking by counseling, nicotine replacement or other forms of smoking cessation therapy, if they smoke.

7. Reduce their saturated fats intake to less than 7 percent of calories. Their diet should include oily fish at least twice a week as a source for omega 3 fatty acids. Women with heart disease should take a capsule supplement of 850–1000 mg of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which to be increased to 2-4 grams if associated high triglycerides.

8. Make sure that women do not take hormone replacement therapy, selective estrogen receptor modulators, antioxidant supplements (vitamin E, C and beta-carotene) and folic acid for primary or secondary prevention of heart disease.

9. If they are 65 or older, tell them to ask their GP for routine low dose aspirin regardless of heart disease risk status. The upper dose of aspirin for high-risk women is 325 mg per day rather than 162 mg.

10. Reduce bad LDL cholesterol to less than 70 mg/dL in very high-risk women with heart disease.