Thursday December 12, 2019

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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Instagram Helps Women to Overcome Miscarriage Distress: Study

The extent to which this loss affects women and their families, and the longevity of their grief is a blind spot for clinicians

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As far as we know, this is the first study to look at the intersection of Instagram and miscarriage. Pixabay

Despite its common occurrence, there is still a lot of stigma surrounding miscarriage and many women find that their emotional and psychological needs are unmet as they go through a devastating grieving process. But for some, Instagram has emerged as a tool to cope with such distress, a study says.

The study, published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, found that the content posted by Instagram users included rich descriptions of the medical and physical experiences of miscarriage, and the emotional spectrum of having a miscarriage and coping with those emotions, the social aspect, and family identity.

“I find it endlessly fascinating that women are opening up to essentially strangers about things that they hadn’t even told their partners or families,” says Dr. Riley. “But this is how powerful this community is,” said Amy Henderson Riley, Assistant Professor at the Jefferson College of Population Health, Thomas Jefferson University, US.

The findings are based on a qualitative research study on 200 posts of text and pictures shared by Instagram users.

“What surprised me the most was how many women and their partners identified as parents after their miscarriage and how the miscarriage lasted into their family identity after a successful pregnancy,” said Rebecca Mercier, Assistant Professor at Thomas Jefferson University.

“The extent to which this loss affects women and their families, and the longevity of their grief is a blind spot for clinicians,” Mercier said.

These personal accounts also provided insight into patients’ perspectives of typically defined experiences.

For example, in the clinic, the typical definition of recurrent pregnancy loss is after three pregnancies. However, the researchers found that many patients who had had two or more miscarriages identified with having recurrent pregnancy loss.

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Despite its common occurrence, there is still a lot of stigma surrounding miscarriage and many women find that their emotional and psychological needs are unmet as they go through a devastating grieving process. But for some, Instagram has emerged as a tool to cope with such distress, a study says. Pixabay

“I’m hoping that this study will encourage clinicians to point patients to social media as a potential coping tool, as well as to approach this subject with bereaved and expecting parents with more respect and empathy,” Mercier said.

Social media is becoming a common avenue for patient testimonials. For example, the short video-sharing platform TikTok has recently become a home for some users to make videos sharing their personal health struggles.

ALSO READ:AI Can Better Help Doctors to Identify Cancer Cells in Human Body

“As far as we know, this is the first study to look at the intersection of Instagram and miscarriage,” Riley said.

“But this is a drop in the bucket. Social media platforms are evolving rapidly and a theoretically grounded research must follow,” she added. (IANS)