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WATCH: Are women at higher risk of death by cardiac arrest than men?

Today, on the occasion of International Women's Day, we have with us - Dr. Aparna Jaswal to discuss why women are at higher risk of dying due to cardiac arrest than men.

Published by Satata Karmakar |Updated : March 8, 2021 9:07 PM IST

Heart disease is the number one cause of death for both women and men around the world. Despite recent progress in profiling the risk factors for Cardiac Arrest (CA) among women, CA remains a major cause of death. According to the reports, women are more prone to die of a CA than men. Millions of women die of sudden cardiac arrest every year in India. But, have you ever thought - why women are at a higher risk of death by CA than men? let's understand everything about this condition and know what are the precautions one can take in order to keep health complications of keep heart diseases at bay.

Today, on the occasion of International Women's Day, we have with us Dr. Aparna Jaswal, Additional Director and Physiologist from Fortis Hospital. Let's take a deeper look into the issue of cardiac arrest in women and understand where to draw the line in order to keep the heart-healthy.

Cardiac Arrest - Why Women Are At Higher Risk Than Men?

"Well, we have to understand that the penetration of coronary artery disease in itself is about 10-12% in the urban population. So what happens with women is that because of their hormones called estrogen and progesterone, we are protected till menopause. However, once women reach menopause, their likelihood of developing heart disease is nearly equal or at times more than men," Dr. Aparna Jaswal told TheHealthSite.

She says a man is more prone to heart diseases when he is young but for a woman, this period starts as she enters menopause. Why is it so? well, according to the experts, most of the symptoms and warning signs of a cardiac arrest in men are extremely obvious and well known, unlike women whose symptoms of cardiac arrests are not common. Due to the differences in the signs and symptoms of the conditions between men and women, women often don't know what to look for. Dr. Aparna Jaswal explains what are the symptoms and how to stay alert.

"The symptoms of heart diseases among men and women are very different. A man with cardiac arrest may experience strong pain right at the center of the chest. But, for a woman the symptoms are different. They may experience, uneasiness in their chest, shoulder ache, or pain in the jaw. But there is sudden cardiac arrest which comes with common symptoms irrespective of the gender," Dr. Jaswal added.

Common Symptoms Of Cardiac Arrests Among Women

Some of the most common symptoms of cardiac arrest in women are not as same as in men. These may include - chronic chest pain, impounding heartbeat, pressure, or discomfort that can last for more than a minute. However, some of the uncommon symptoms may include -

  • Chronic pain in the neck area, jawline, shoulder, upper back
  • Indigestion (not the normal one)
  • Unexplained and unusual dizziness
  • Pain in one or both the arms, etc.

Women tend to have symptoms more often when resting, or even when asleep than they do in men. Sudden cardiac arrests can lead to death. But, what causes sudden cardiac arrests? Here's what Jaswal has to say.

"When there is a cardiac arrest, a person may experience a very rapid and chaotic rhythm in the heart which begins suddenly. Our heart is supposed to beat between 60 to 100 times in a minute, but when there is a sudden cardiac arrest, our heartbeats go up unnaturally - 200 to 400 beats a minute," Jaswal told TheHealthSite.

What Are The Risk Factors?

Talking about the risk factors of cardiac arrest in women, Dr. Jaswal said, "Women who are suffering from obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension can raise the risk of cardiac arrest". Some of the other factors which contribute diligently to cardiac arrest in women are -smoking, a poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle, etc. "Those who have achieved menopause and are suffering from the risk factors that I have outlined are at higher risk of getting a cardiac arrest," Jaswal said.

One of the most important queries that each one of you has asked us over and over again is are Heart Attacks and Cardiac Arrests the same? No, they are not. Let's understand the difference between the two. "They are two very different parts of the heart process. Both of them can be devastating. A heart attack happens when there is a sudden blockage in the blood vessels of the heart. However, a cardiac arrest is when a patient feels dizzy due to a disturbance in the electrical system of the heart and not due to any disturbance in the blood supply of the heart," Jaswal added.

Tip From The Doctor:It is extremely important as a woman that we look after our health, only then we will be able to look after the health of our entire family. So, look after yourself and stay happy.

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