Friday January 19, 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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Top Hollywood women unveiled a sexual harassment initiative

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Top Hollywood women unveiled a sexual harassment initiative
A combination photo shows some of the actresses who have made allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein. Listed in alphabetical order, top row from left, Asia Argento, Rosanna Arquette, Jessica Barth, Cara Delevingne, Romola Garai, Judith Godreche, Heather Graham, Angelina Jolie. VOA

USA, Jan 1, 2018: More than 300 top women in Hollywood — from Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence to Emma Thompson and Cate Blanchett — unveiled an initiative Monday to tackle pervasive sexual harassment in workplaces, calling special attention to their “sisters” in less than glamorous blue-collar jobs.

The initiative, dubbed Time’s Up, caps a year in which the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct scandal touched off a deluge of allegations that brought down powerful men in entertainment, politics and the media, prompting companies, government agencies and even the U.S. federal court system to re-examine harassment policies.

But in an open letter printed in The New York Times, the new initiative lends the star power of its A-list members to the cause of women in less prominent fields, urging support and respect for farm workers and others whose humble positions leave them vulnerable and voiceless.

“We fervently urge the media covering the disclosures by people in Hollywood to spend equal time on the myriad experiences of individuals working in less glamorized and valorized trades,” the group says in its full-page ad.

“To every woman employed in agriculture who has had to fend off unwanted sexual advances from her boss, every housekeeper who has tried to escape an assaultive guest, every janitor trapped nightly in a building with a predatory supervisor, every waitress grabbed by a customer and expected to take it with a smile … we stand with you. We support you.”

$15 million goal

Last month, the head of Ford Motor Company apologized to employees at two factories in Chicago and promised changes, after a scathing expose by the Timesdetailed pervasive harassment and mistreatment of women at the plants dating back to the 1990s. It was one of the first major media investigations into sexual harassment in blue-collar workplaces.

Among the specific steps it announced, Time’s Up has established a legal defense fund that, in just 12 days, has raised $13.4 million toward a $15 million goal aimed at providing legal aid for women and men who were sexually harassed, assaulted or abused in the workplace.

It has vowed to push for legislation to strengthen laws on workplace harassment and discrimination.

The group insists that more women must be brought into positions of power and leadership, while every woman should have equal benefits, opportunities, pay and representation.

As for Hollywood, it wants “swift and effective change to make the entertainment industry a safe and equitable place for everyone.”

And it called on women to wear black at Sunday’s Golden Globes as a statement against gender and racial inequality, and to raise awareness about the group’s efforts.

‘Dear Sisters’ 

The open letter in the Times, which also appears in the Spanish-language La Opinion, opens with the words “Dear Sisters” in large, bold type, and closes with the words “in solidarity,” followed by the names of the 300 women.

Several of Weinstein’s accusers signed the open letter. They include Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Beckinsale, as well as Salma Hayek, whose lengthy account of mistreatment by Weinstein — “my monster,” she called him — was widely circulated on social media after appearing last month in The New York Times.

Weinstein has denied some of the allegations, including Hayek’s assertion that he pressured her to do a nude sex scene in one movie.

Other prominent women lending their names to the Time’s Up cause are actresses Natalie Portman, America Ferrera, Amy Schumer, Halle Berry, Julianne Moore, Keira Knightley, Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Susan Sarandon, Uma Thurman and Viola Davis; producer Shonda Rhimes; Universal Pictures chair Donna Langley; feminist activist Gloria Steinem; lawyer and ex-Michelle Obama chief of staff Tina Tchen and Nike Foundation co-chair Maria Eitel. (VOA)