Sunday April 22, 2018

Still lot to know about women’s heart says Indian origin cardiologist

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Washington: For the first time there was a release of a scientific statement on female heart attacks by The American Heart Association(AHA). The statement highlighted existing knowledge gaps and outlined the priority steps needed to better understand and treat heart disease in women.

The statement chaired by Dr Laxmi Mehta, a cardiologist at the Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Centre, compiles the newest data on symptoms, treatments and the types of heart attacks among women.

“Over the last 10 years or so, we’ve learned that women’s hearts are different than men’s in some significant ways and while that’s helped reduce mortality, there’s much more to know,” said Mehta, who is also director of Ohio State’s women’s cardiovascular health programme.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for women globally.

While men and women both experience chest pain as a primary heart attack symptom, women often have atypical, vague symptoms without the usual chest pain such as palpitations, pain in the back, shoulder or jaw, even anxiety, sweating or indigestion.

Some women may only experience shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting or flu-like symptoms.

“These symptoms can be very challenging for the patient and the medical profession. Women tend to under recognise or deny them. When they do present to the emergency department, it is important for these symptoms to be triaged appropriately as potential heart problems,” Mehta emphasised.

Delay in seeking treatment is more common among women than men. The authors report several factors can lead to a delay in seeking help for heart attack symptoms.

“Living alone, interpreting symptoms as temporary or not urgent, consulting with a doctor or family member first and fear of embarrassment if the symptoms aren’t serious are some of them,” the authors noted.

“We don’t yet clearly understand why women have different causes and symptoms of heart attacks,” Mehta said.

“Women are more complex, there are more biological variables such as hormonal fluctuations. That’s why more research is needed,” she said.

Social, environmental and community differences also play a role in how women’s treatment outcomes differ from men’s.

More women have depression related to heart disease, which can hinder their treatment.

Women less often complete cardiac rehabilitation due to the competing work and family responsibilities and lack of support.

Frankly, women are great at nagging their spouses, so they make sure their partner takes their medications, goes to cardiac rehab, eats better and sees the doctor.

“Unfortunately. many women don’t make their own personal health their priority, which contributes to more favourable outcomes in men versus women after a heart attack,” Mehta noted.

Certain cardiovascular risk factors are more potent in women, including Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

There is also growing evidence that emotional stress and depression can influence the onset and course of heart disease in women.

“The first step to help improve outcomes for women is attention to gender-specific characteristics and disparities to improve awareness, prevention, recognition and treatment in women with heart disease,” Mehta said.(IANS)

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IMF: Empowering Women Is Smart Economics

IMF says, Getting more women into formal workforce is priority for India

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Ken Kang
Ken Kang. IANS

India must focus as a priority on ensuring that more women work in the formal sector as it continues with labour reforms, according to Ken Kang, the deputy director in International Monetary Fund (IMF) Asia Pacific Department.

While “in recent years India has made very impressive progress in reforms,” he said that “looking ahead there are important policy priorities” and listed three among them.

“One, is to continue improvements in product and labour market reforms with a focus on increasing formal female labour participation to improve the business environment, and reduce complex regulations, but also to address supply bottlenecks, particularly in the agricultural sector and distribution networks,” Kang said at a news conference on Friday in Washington.

As one of India’s major reform achievements, he mentioned the “introduction of flexible inflation targeting and of a statutory monetary policy which has helped to strengthen the monetary policy framework.”

Working woman
Working woman. Pixabay

The Reserve Bank of India Act was amended in 2016, to provide for a Monetary Policy Committee that decides on the interest rate required for achieving the inflation target set by the government in consultation with the bank.

The other achievements include the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the “major recapitalisation plan for the public-sector banks in order to accelerate the work out of nonperforming loans, as well as made some important legal improvements through a new insolvency and bankruptcy law,” Kang said.

“We expect and hope that the reform momentum continues,” he added.

Also Read: Newly Developed Tool to Battle HIV in Women

“We are not saying that India’s structural reform speed will slow down because of elections,” Changyong Rhee, the IMF director of the Asia Pacific Department said.

“What we are saying is that the growth momentum and the structural reform momentum should continue despite the election period. So there is something misquoted,” he added.

On Thursday, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde had said at a news conference on Thursday, according to the IMF transcript: “We have seen and we are seeing — I am not sure that we will be seeing in the next few months given the elections that are coming up — major reforms that we had recommended and advocated for a long time.”  IANS