Women are six times more vulnerable to CAD than men, and have no symptoms
Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a major cause of cardiovascular death worldwide and India is no exception with the highest rate of CAD patients accounting for over 20% of the global burden.
Although Triple Vessel Coronary Artery Disease (TVCAD) is less common among young patients (<45 years), poor lifestyle habits are contributing to a rise in such patients.
“At this rate, India will have the largest heart disease burden by 2020. Most of us believe that CAD is the disease of men, and women only have to worry about breast cancer or gynaecological cancer. Contradicting to this fact, over 50,000 more women die in comparison to men every year across the globe. Apart from lack of awareness about the disease, under-diagnosis and under treatment attribute to the excess mortality among women.” Said Dr. Anupam Goel, Principal Consultant – Interventional Cardiology, Max Hospital, Saket, New Delhi
Apart from age and family history, controllable risk factors including increased cigarette smoking, high levels of cholesterol, high systolic blood pressure and diabetes have been noted to raise the risk of atherosclerosis by around 90%. In fact over 20% of diabetic patients have suffered from this condition.
“Each year more women die of cardiovascular disease than from all the cancer combined together. For every woman that dies from breast cancer, there are six that die from heart disease and unfortunately, younger women are more likely to die from CAD than older women.” Added Dr Goel
Heart disease in women doesn’t have typical presentation like retrosternal chest heaviness in men. One should immediately consult a doctor if they have Difficulty in breathing especially while gong upstairs or walking fast, Unusual fatigue or dullness, Pain abdomen or pain in shoulders, back, arms or hands, sweating or dizziness. Because of atypical presentation, a diagnosis of heart disease is delayed in women leading to worse outcome. In general one in five women has some form of CVD Cardiovascular and almost one-third of women who have a heart attack die within one year.
Wide spread awareness, early recognition of symptoms and diagnosis of CAD is of utmost importance to save invaluable lives of caregivers of the society.