Heart diseases may not have received as much attention as they require. This may be the reason why many people are still not aware of the risk factors, symptoms, and preventive measures. This lack of knowledge explains why there is still a big number of people dying of heart-related complications worldwide. This paper aims to discuss heart diseases in women since they are at a higher risk than men.
The disease prevalence is higher in women than in men. It accounts for a third of all deaths in women, roughly 8.6 million women each year making it the number one killer disease in women. The number of women dying from heart attack is six times as high as the number of breast cancer fatalities. 11 percent of deaths in women are as a result of a stroke. This totals to about 3 million deaths each year. Its prevalence is still higher in women; among men, stroke accounts for 8.4 percent of deaths
Among the 8 million women who are suffering cardiovascular diseases in the US, 35000 are under 65 years of age. 435000, 83000 of whom are under 65years, suffer heart attacks each year. 42 percent of heart attack female patients die within 1 year and only 24 percent in men. The risk of fatality in women under 50 is twice that of men in the same age bracket. From these statistics it is evident that it is not only a disease for the aged, everyone is at risk. The risk is higher in women smokers, those taking oral contraceptives, overweight women, and those with hypertension and /or diabetes. Hypertension increases the risk of developing coronary heart disease 3.5 times; diabetes doubles the risk while smoking makes the risk more likely at an earlier age than in non-smokers. (Women’s Heart Foundation, 2007)
Since women of all ages are equally susceptible, it means that women of the working-age are not exempted. Like with any other sickness, the productivity of these women will be reduced if they get cardiovascular diseases. Absenteeism from work and the inability to work as hard as before will lead to less output. In the worst case, death may occur, disability, or total incapacity to work. This is a minus in the workforce.
The economic burden associated with heart diseases directly or indirectly is quite huge, (Petersen et al, 2005). The cost of treatment of cardiovascular-related problems is a heavy burden for many; especially the low-income earners. Not all patients can readily afford the cost of treatment or even the recommended dietary plan. It weighs heavily not just on individuals but also on governments.
The recommended bill to improve prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heart diseases; if implemented would go a long way in reducing the number of new infections by availing preventive services to all, also reducing the mortality rate by making treatment accessible to all.
Finally, it is important to recognize the physiological differences between men and women as they link directly to the risk, fatality rate, and difficulty in diagnosis. Women are at a higher risk due to different factors as mentioned earlier and the manifestation of the symptoms in women makes it harder to diagnose heart diseases in the very early stages. It would be of great help if means of early diagnosis in women are put in place.
The main prevention and treatment measure of cardiovascular/ heart diseases is a lifestyle change. ‘Healthy living is a term used to refer to all efforts that are geared towards the prevention of heart diseases; exercise, recommended diet, and maintaining healthy weight constitute healthy living. (Birnbaum, n.d)
Birnbaum, J. Decreasing Risk of Developing Cardiovascular Disease. A. 2012. Web.
Petersen S, Peto V, Rayner M, Leal J, Luengo-Fernandez R, Gray A. (2005) European Cardiovascular Disease Statistics. London: British Heart Foundation.
Women’s Heart Foundation (2007). Women and heart disease facts. Web.