Saturday, 20 October 2012

heart attacks and women

Most of the women live in the knowledge that 'heart attacks [ congestive heart failure,myocardial infarction ] are 'MEN'S DISEASE'.
Years and years of magazine articles and health spreads of everyday newspapers have gone on and on about symptoms of heart attacks in men.

Here is a talk from TED which will quickly dispel all your myths !
health threat women face

The moot points are :

In men, heart attacks are loud, quick and painful.Yes , groping left arm pain and chest pain and when they are rushed to hospitals and when labs are done most indicators are high which gives a clear indication of an heart attack.

In women, signs are subtle, chest pain  may be there or not or even slight. Some experience conflicting symptoms like nausea and uneasy sensation or giddiness. And the cardiac indicators on the lab tests are not high enough sometimes to cause alarm in the doctors .So diagnosis is poor. So in a women it largely goes undiagnosed on time and treatment modalities are also not as effective as in men.

The good news is in India doctors have woken up and are aware that women present heart disease symptoms in different ways and are actively and seriously looking when women come with even a minor chest discomfort or other symptoms.

What can women do for themselves ?

1. Recognise the new stats and be aware . In india breast cancer is still a greater killer in women because of late diagnosis in most cases. Similarly be aware and take care of your heart.Do those preventive health check ups.

2. In India more and more women are working late hours, are doubly stressed..........and more importantly we have to fight for everything that is actually is our God given rights. India is not the best place to be a women but i'm hopeful that things might change. In india women work in the house and outside while roles of men are still only as breadwinner. I know being a care taker is hardwired in our DNA but take good care of yourself too. Don't blame yourself,feel guilty or ashamed and if you do actively try to learn skills to combat these feelings.Don't be in hurtful relationships or friendships.Don't care what others are telling especially those who point fingers at you and trying to make you feel bad by judging you.Don't lose yourself in trying to be a good wife ,good DIL or daughter or even a mother. Ask the men in your lives to help you. Bringing up children and running a household is even his responsibility. Seriously, having children and how many and even marriage is a choice.Women face the brunt of pregnancy and bringing up children so its only your choice alone.

3. In india,in conservative households, leftovers are mostly eaten by women and fresh food is given to men. While there is nothing wrong in eating leftovers, make sure its eaten by all or make food only in required quantities. This requires paradigm shift because i have seen women are in charge of cooking and preparing food in such households yet they treat themselves like this.Hold men to different standards: If a man cries or helps in the kitchen, cooks food,cleans the house and is vocal about his feelings.... ITS GOOD !He doesn't become less of a man in any way.If you want to be treated equal and want gentler men , stop saying boys don't cry and bring up boys like human beings instead of MEN !

4. Go for your walks. Instead of taking a rick for 2kms walk if you have the time. Take stairs instead of lifts. Exercise. More and more women have pauch just like men because they have stopped doing physical work and are sitting in office and working on computers.Go do your errands and make the men in your life too and even your children otherwise how they will learn to maintain an active physical life.The funny thing is even maids i see these days are fatter !
The only way to increase stamina unfortunately is 'resistance'- when you strain against something or pull weight ! So don't be afraid to pick up heavy bags or stuff untill and unless you have been told by doctors not to !

5. Don't try to be like men...they are NOT very good role models! Smoking ,drinking,drugs,chewing tobacco and paan masala give the same high to women and men. But women physiology is different then men.These substances when consumed will affect and lead to horrible diseases !So not worth it !

6. In india,men are not trained in household chores by their mothers so for some women it becomes double work of working outside and then doing household chores too. So either spend on help [ which is a different pain in itself- finding good reliable help] or plan to do only this much and delegate other work to husbands and kids.While you are at it make sure you teach your sons and daughters to cook and clean up after themselves if nothing else !

7. Why do i stress on learning to cook- hey its directly related to your health. You decide which oil you use and how much. You decide how to cook a certain vegetable and how much. How much personalization will an eatery,cook or even a fancy dabbawallah give you ? So untill and unless you are a millionaire with an obedient and health conscious cook who will minutely follow your instructions you better learn to cook whether you like it or not. Eating junk food and surviving on maggi all the time because you won't cook or won't make time for cooking your meals will directly affect your health and weight.

8. Make informed choices that are good for you. Don't just do what others expect of you.I know for most women this is very difficult especially simpler, meek and gentle natured women.Do only stuff which makes you feel good and not used.And making these choices is going to be a constant battle.If you are gentle and trusting as person, predatory men and women will try to undermine you in different ways and complicate your life.

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