Heart Disease is the narrowing or blocking of the coronary arteries, the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart. This is Coronary artery disease and it happens very slowly over time. Men are more likely to get Coronary artery disease and other heart related diseases. While it is true that women are still not as badly affected as men, heart disease is certainly not a strictly male province. Today, heart disease is the leading cause of death of American Women. More than 366,000 women in America die every year of heart disease. In UK, almost one in six women dies of heart disease.
Many doctors, who as late as in the 1980s did not even really believe that women developed heart disease, still over look uniquely women heart disease risks, sometimes even to the point of misdiagnosing or dismissing women’s heart attacks while they are happening.
Two widely believed myths persist that only men have heart disease and that women are at risk only in old age. The truth is that at least 1.2 million women live with heart disease and this figure is rising. One may even be surprised to learn that more than 20,000 women under the age of 65 have heart attacks each year. And while heart attack rates for men are falling, rates for women are on the rise. Death rates from heart attack are generally declining but they are declining at a slower rate for women than for men.
Women play down their own risk. Menopause is a defining moment for women and Heart Disease. Before menopause, a woman’s naturally high oestrogen levels protect her heart. After the menopause, women have higher cholesterol levels, which may increase their risk of heart disease, especially if their level of triglycerides which is another type of fat particle in the blood is raised too. In general, women who have high levels of triglycerides (over 3.0mmol/l) and low HDL ‘Good Cholesterol’ (under 1.2mmol/l) have greater risks for heart disease than do men with similar levels.
The causes of heart disease are different for women. For example, Type 2 Diabetes increases heart disease risk more in women than in men. Women who smoke are twice as likely to have heart attacks as male smokers. Depression is also a stronger heart risk factor for women than it is for men.
Women have risk factors that men don’t face. Taking contraceptive pills is one example. High blood pressure is two or three times more common in women who take oral contraceptives – especially in those who are overweight. Also, women whose blood pressure rise during pregnancy and returns to normal after delivery are more likely to have high blood pressure and heart disease later in life.
The simplest truth to get rid of heart disease in women is to gain more understanding of one’s own heart risk. Then in easy terms, eat wisely, take exercise, climb stairs instead of lifts and elevators, reduce stress, be aware of fluctuations in body weight, waist measurements, cholesterol levels and blood pressure. This is a good advice for women with heart disease.
Woman and depression
A woman has to perform a multifaceted role in her life - a spouse, mother, sister, daughter etc. Her family, career and above that she has to cope with the menstruation, pregnancy and menopause. As a woman she has a plenty of issues to handle. The worst thing to handle is depression. Statistics reveal that women get depression more than men do. There are many factors, which lead to the study of women and depression.
Depression is the chemical imbalance in the brain that makes it hard for the cells to communicate with each other. Some of the reasons for women to be depressed are death of a loved one, divorce or leaving home sweet home for higher studies or for a better prospect, taking certain medicines or using drugs or alcohol or due to certain illness etc.
Women with premenstrual syndrome are likely to be depressed, one week before her menstruation. For some women, who have delivered, few weeks after the delivery, they tend to have depression. It is also known as post delivery blues. Some women, who are having birth control pills, are prone to have depression and sudden increase in weight. The weight increase adds to the depression, as she feels she is not attractive anymore.
Some of the symptoms of depression are feeling sad or crying a lot, loosing interest or pleasure in some things, which you used to enjoy a lot — sex, feeling guilty, or worthless, feeling attracted towards death and suicide, sleeping too much or not sleeping at all, feeling tired and lethargic, loosing appetite, loosing weight, having trouble in paying attention, or in taking decisions, having pain and aches that don’t get treated easily and so on and so forth.
Biological Factors—the female body itself decides the development of depression. At various stages of depression, the hormones and other related factors influence it. Women, who are less educated and unemployed, are at a higher risk. Low status and high stress jobs, poor health, larger family sizes and single parenthood are also risk factors, which contribute to depression.
Research should be made to study each and every pattern of women and depression. Depression recurs in women, who recover from an initial episode. Insurance coverage should be given for the mental health problems of the women. Depression can be treated with counseling or antidepressant medicine or both. When you are in depression, it is better not to blame or isolate yourself. Avoid taking major decisions like divorce etc, sleeping too much or too little. Try the exercises and follow a healthy diet, while taking medicines. Call your doctor or local suicide crisis centre, in case you feel the same.
Antidepressants medicines can be taken in normal cases, but if a woman wants to become pregnant, consult with your doctor. In case, a woman accidentally becomes pregnant while she is on an antidepressant, it is recommended that the doctor be reported immediately.
In case of breast feeding while on antidepressants, inform the doctor and get his advice. If you are on hormone replacement therapy or oral birth control pills, it is advisable that they don’t take depression medicines. Women and depression are more related; however, it is important for you to beat the depression.
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