Health, according to the World Health Organization, is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”. A variety of definitions have been used for different purposes over time. Health can be promoted by encouraging healthful activities, such as regular physical exercise and adequate sleep, and by reducing or avoiding unhealthful activities or situations, such as smoking or excessive stress. Some factors affecting health are due to individual choices, such as whether to engage in a high-risk behavior, while others are due to structural causes, such as whether the society is arranged in a way that makes it easier or harder for people to get necessary healthcare services. Still other factors are beyond both individual and group choices, such as genetic disorders.
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Here are some signs of an unhealthy heart: chest pain, breathlessness, breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, upper body pain, or dizziness.
A heart attack occurs when the blood flow, which brings oxygen to the heart muscle, is reduced or obstructed due to the blocking or severely narrowing of the arteries that supply the heart. The signs of it may include chest pain, breathlessness, breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, upper body pain or dizziness.
Though a majority of heart patients including both men and women, would have chest pain during a stroke, it has been revealed that in women we do see non-typical symptoms. These symptoms could be shortness of breath, vomiting or nausea, just sweating or pain which is not in the centre of the chest but may be on the left side or in the hands.
Pointing out that women of all ages should take heart disease seriously, Dr Ramakanta Panda, cardiac surgeon and vice chairman of Asian Heart Institute shared, “Heart disease symptoms in women may be different from those in men. For e.g. women may have a heart attack without chest pain and tend to have blockages not only in their main arteries but also in the smaller arteries that supply blood to the heart. Valve disease is also common in young women. Hence, women of all ages should take heart disease seriously.”
50% of women in India reportedly live with an abnormal cholesterol level and with heart disease getting younger, there is an urgent need for women to be aware of how to live healthfully. Since the emotional and physical impact of cardiac disease can take a toll on the patient, Dr Ramakanta listed 10 heart health tips for women or fitness changes to make in sedentary lifestyle to monitor women’s heart health and stay healthy.
1. Maintain your cholesterol level
High cholesterol increases your risk for heart disease and stroke for that matter. Eat food which has less intake of salt and oil.
2. Get Moving
Try walking for 30 minutes a day, five times a week to keep your weight down and your heart in shape.
3. Tweak your eating habits
You don’t need to be a perfect eater. Avoid eating junk and start eating healthy.
4. Quit Smoking
Smoking causes cancer and can also cause heart diseases. It’s time to quit smoking if you are a regular smoker.
5. Lessen your stress
Stress increases blood pressure and blood pressure can result in a heart stroke. Avoid taking unnecessary stress.
6. Get enough sleep
Good sleep is an essential part of keeping the heart healthy. Sleep for a good 6-8 hours during the night.
7. Choose birth control cautiously
Many contraceptives can cause an increase in blood pressure which would eventually result in a cardiovascular disease.
8. Drink alcohol in moderation (if at all)
Limit your intake of alcohol and if you can, quit it completely.
9. Maintain the right Body Mass Index
Keep your weight under check so as to avoid diseases like diabetes which can result in heart disease.
10. Start your healthy heart checkups early
All women should be screened for a heart disease starting at the age of 20. They should also get their cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes screened.
The important thing is to acknowledge the fact that a heart disease doesn’t mean it is the end of the world. Heart ailments can be effectively cured by not leading a sedentary lifestyle and with adequate exercise, sleep, rest, spiritual wellness, a diet with the right food products and wellness in relationships.
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