Woman’s heart awaits attention

This is not a romantic post, on the contrary, it points to a very serious health risk. While one out of every 30 women dies from breast cancer, one out of every three women dies from heart disease.

As women, we are intensively informed about the types of cancer that threaten our health. We started to have our girls vaccinated against HPV to prevent cervical cancer, and we, as adults, have a PAP smear test at least once a year to search for precursor lesions. In breast cancer, it is recommended to use many early diagnosis methods, from home manual examination to ultrasound and mammography. Although there is no decrease in cancer cases, early diagnosis increases thanks to these measures. However, we overlook another equally important risk: cardiovascular diseases. Thinking that these diseases are specific to men actually puts us women at great risk because cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death in women in the world. It is known that 54 percent of women’s deaths in Europe are caused by cardiovascular diseases.

Anadolu Medical Center Cardiology Specialist Prof. Dr. Nevrez Koylan said, “The fact that the age of development of these diseases in women is a little later makes women a little more neglected in terms of heart diseases. Another problem is that the symptoms that occur in women do not appear as dramatically as in men. “A not so wrong belief that their hormones are protecting them also causes women to neglect themselves.”

Smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are common factors that trigger heart disease for men and women. However, there are two more risk factors for women: Menopause and simultaneous use of birth control pills with smoking. Dr. Nevrez Koylan said, “The reasons differ according to the person and other factors. Cardiovascular diseases occur 10 years later in women than in men. The risk increases especially in the postmenopausal period. The reason for this increase is partly due to the disappearance of the protective effects of hormones against hypertension, diabetes, increase in blood fats, obesity and metabolic syndrome.

Stress if you work, obesity if you don’t

The fact that working women have double responsibilities at work and at home also increases their stress and this situation paves the way for more cardiovascular diseases in women. Metabolic changes brought about by stress accelerate the formation of atherosclerosis. Heart rate increases under stress, blood pressure rises, metabolism starts to work at its highest level, which causes the metabolism to produce more free radicals. When stress becomes chronic, it creates negative effects on the cardiovascular system. On the other hand, in case of chronic stress, it is easier for the hormonal balance of the woman to be affected, since the hormones that are sacrificed first when the body is in trouble are the sex hormones.

The fact that it is getting easier to reach calories and the tendency to ready-to-eat foods causes rapid weight gain, especially among non-working women. The development of hypertension and diabetes is especially evident in women. This leads to a higher incidence of heart disease in women.

We are ahead of men in obesity

The prevalence of hypertension in women is 30-40 percent higher than in men, and this difference increases with advancing age. On the other hand, obesity is more common in women than men. The prevalence of metabolic syndrome (combination of diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension) is 27 percent in men and 45 percent in women. All these high rates increase the risk of heart disease in all women to a certain extent. When menopause is added to these, the distribution of fat in the body is negatively affected, the structure of blood fats changes, and heart diseases are triggered.

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