Sunday February 18, 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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It’s not what you wear, but the way you wear it

Men lack the enzyme which processes self-awareness, which is why we think we look good in Speedos

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A lot depends upon what we wear and how we carry it. Wikimedia Common
A lot depends upon what we wear and how we carry it. Wikimedia Common

Definition of being behind on the laundry: When you find yourself seriously considering wearing a Halloween costume to work.

I expected my wife to veto the idea, but she was okay with it, saying: “It’s not what you wear that counts, but whether you can carry it off.”

Mind you, this was a phone conversation and so she couldn’t see what I was wearing. In the event, going to work in a killer clown outfit was not as bad as it might have been, and the fake bloodstains on the costume proved advantageous. Fellow passengers quickly gave me a seat on the bus — actually, a whole block of seats.

Also Read: Get quirky with your shoes

The main (and possibly only) advantage of marriage for guys is that we are given full-time aides (“wives”) who generally prevent us going out looking too ridiculous. Men lack the enzyme which processes self-awareness, which is why we think we look good in Speedos.

Proof: In my true-crime file is a report about a criminal fugitive on the run in Japan who disguised himself in a girls’ sailor suit school uniform. Since he was a tall man with massive shoulders, he managed to evade detection for only minutes.

Definition of being behind on the laundry: When you find yourself seriously considering wearing a Halloween costume to work. Wikimedia Commons
Definition of being behind on the laundry: When you find yourself seriously considering wearing a Halloween costume to work. Wikimedia Commons

Another true story: Last year, a pair of bank robbers decided to dress as women to scope out a bank in Thomasville, Florida. The result was the opposite of what they expected: They became the centre of attention, of course.

It is really hard for men to dress convincingly as females as we lack the two main things that make a woman a woman — good taste, and the ability to walk with our feet clamped in instruments of torture known as “lady’s shoes”.

There’s one exception which proves my point. In November last year, the coach of the Thailand women’s kabaddi team was dismayed to find out that males were banned from attending women’s sports events in Iran, where his team was playing. So he wrapped his head in a female scarf and marched straight in.

Also Read: Why Do People Get Aggressive After Drinking?

He fooled nobody but correctly judged that the women would be too nice to throw him out. Smart guy.

Our UK correspondent shared a sad news item about a group of men who raised money for their local hospital by dressing as nurses and pushing a bed around town. The hospital refused to accept the cash as they said it was considered politically incorrect for men to dress as nurses these days.

It is really hard for men to dress convincingly as females as we lack the two main things that make a woman a woman. Wikimedia Commons
It is really hard for men to dress convincingly as females as we lack the two main things that make a woman a woman. Wikimedia Commons

This seems unfair, as I have seen marathon runners dressed as bananas, dinosaurs and Q-Tips without complaint from fruit sellers, palaeontologists or people who like to poke things in their ears.

But the political issues surrounding women’s clothes are complex. In 2011 someone organised a “slutwalk” in Canada. This involved scantily-clad females marching down the road with protest banners. When the Slutwalk arrived in Asia, the women were fully covered up and many of the marchers were male; so the event missed the point, a bit like the Animal Rights Barbecue that a friend of mine once tried to organise.

Also Read: 7 Unfailing Ways To Impress Your Lady Love & Swoon Her Off Her Feet

Anyway, like my wife says, it’s not what you wear but how you wear it. By the way, I look great in a Speedo. (IANS)

(Nury Vittachi is an Asia-based frequent traveller. Send ideas and comments via his Facebook page)