Cardiovascular disease has become the leading cause of death among women, ahead of cancer. This situation is largely linked to the lifestyle, diet and sedentary lifestyle that are developing. The lack of information also plays a major role against the cardiovascular health of women. Taking charge of your heart has become vital.
In terms of the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, the medical profession has always been more concerned about men, considered to be the very first targets of these diseases. Women were supposed to be naturally protected by their hormones until menopause, and seemed to miraculously escape cardiovascular problems. Even after their fifties, they heard very little about it.
But the situation is not frivolous, there is even a public health emergency: cardiovascular diseases have now become the leading cause of female death and kill them more than men. Of the 147,000 annual deaths from cardiovascular disease, 54% are women. The various cardiovascular diseases are in fact responsible for eight times more deaths than breast cancer, to which an entire month of information is dedicated each year. Result: the majority of women remain unaware of the very real risks to their heart muscle and lack vigilance.
While the number of myocardial infarctions has fallen among men in all age groups (– 5.3% among 35-44 year olds and – 8.2% among 45-54 year olds), it is increasing sharply among women: + 14.6% among 35-44 year olds and + 17.9% among 45-54 year olds. In twenty years, this figure has even tripled among women under 50 (going from 4% in 1995 to 11% in 2015) and, in France, more than one in three women will die of an accident. cardiovascular. These pathologies also represent more broadly, in Europe, 42% of deaths against 27% for cancers. In the lead, infarction (18%), then stroke (14%) and other vascular pathologies (10%).
Tobacco, physical inactivity, stress,… the risk factors to watch out for
If female hormones (estrogens) theoretically protect the female cardiovascular system before menopause (in particular by preserving the flexibility of the arteries), these physiological benefits have been very seriously reduced in reality, or even canceled out, by a lifestyle that is has deteriorated in recent decades and has become similar to that of men. Main culprit: tobacco, the leading cause of heart attack before the age of 40 (without warning signs or other associated risk factors) and which multiplies the risk of stroke by three by smoking only four cigarettes a day. Obesity (increasing, provider of diabetes, arterial hypertension, dyslipidemia and therefore coronary risk), sedentary lifestyle and diabetes, a pathology in marked increase and which increases by three to seven times the cardiovascular risk are also singled out. in women (against only two to three times in men). Isolation and precariousness are also in question, vectors of lack of care and surveillance. As for stress, the main factor in a third of heart attacks, it should not be neglected, especially since it has now been proven that women are less resistant to it than their companions.
This poor lifestyle is part of a real female fragility, linked to a specific physiopathology: their arteries are finer (and stiffen and thicken rapidly with menopause), they more easily produce clots, their plaques of he atheroma are morphologically different (and more subject to erosion), they present more spontaneous coronary dissections (compression-occlusion, even rupture of the artery)…
Unrecognized and often ignored symptoms
In the event of an acute accident, the disparity is still very much present. In question, the symptoms in women, which are not necessarily “typical” as in men (pain in the chest radiating into the left arm and the jaw) and can easily go unnoticed by them or be misinterpreted and neglected by the medical profession: severe fatigue, shortness of breath, difficulty in breathing (signs which can evoke anxiety, anxiety, even depression), but also nausea, vomiting, sweating, pain in the stomach (signs which can be taken for digestive disorders). This ignorance of the women themselves and their underestimation of the pain mean that they take longer to consult the emergency services or to call the Samu, hence a delay in diagnosis and treatment, which increases the risk of mortality.
Simple but effective measures
Almost all (approximately 90%) of the risk factors are in fact modifiable, hence the need for “active” information for women, which is already one of the priorities of the French Federation of Cardiology. .
– Smoking cessationimperative at any age, can reduce cardiovascular risk by a third at two years and completely at five years.
– A diet low in fruits and vegetables being responsible for 14% of myocardial infarctions, it is particularly recommended to increase the dose of plants, which both protect the vascular and myocardial cells (in particular thanks to vitamin K, a vasodilator) and participate in the fight against overweight and obesity.
– The fight against sedentary lifestyle (responsible for 12% of heart attacks) is also a major asset, for its benefits on the heart (a muscle that must be trained), weight and high blood pressure. Moderate physical activity (the equivalent of thirty minutes of brisk walking five times a week) reduces cardiovascular risk by half.
– Stress and psychological factors (depression, anxiety), it is important to relieve them through sporting activity, but also any discipline or effective therapy: behavioral and cognitive therapies, sophrology, cardiac coherence, yoga, meditation, etc.
The Secret to Women’s Longevity
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