Did you know that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the most important cause of mortality among women in India, even surpassing cancer? Surprisingly, very few women identify heart disease as their top health risk.

In India, more than 10 million people die each year, over two million of them from circulatory system disorders, 40% of them are women. These startling figures should make women sit up and take notice.

The good news is that most cardiac incidents can be prevented with the right strategies.

In this blog, we will look at female-specific risk factors for cardiovascular disease, as well as contemporary strategies for cardiovascular disease prevention for women. Consider the following crucial points:

Unique risk factors for women

Risk factors for both men and women include high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, smoking, and alcohol consumption. However, there are specific risk factors that affect women differently than males and make them more likely to develop heart disease, including:

Hormonal changes: 

Before menopause, oestrogen protects women against heart disease. However, as women go through menopause, their oestrogen levels decrease, which can make them more prone to have heart disease than women of the same age who have not yet reached menopause. This is especially true if they’ve had a hysterectomy. Hormone therapy and oral contraception can also increase risk

Pregnancy complications:

Pregnancy-related complications such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and premature birth can be indicators of future heart disease risk. Women who have had these issues should be cautious of their heart health.

Autoimmune diseases: 

Research from many parts of the country has found a high frequency of cardiometabolic risk factors in women with rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

Mental health: 

Depression and chronic stress are more common in women and can put them at a much higher cardiometabolic risk of CVD than men.

Prevention strategies:

Healthy diet:

To get the most benefit for your heart, you should choose a heart-healthy diet that includes more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products. You also should choose foods that are low salt or low sodium. Cut down on saturated fat, and added sugar to keep your heart and arteries healthy.

Know your numbers: 

Common health problems like blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood sugar, and high cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease. Controlling these risk factors can lead to substantial reduction of cardiovascular risk in women. It is suggested that you start tracking these health metrics in your forties — cholesterol, blood pressure, fasting blood glucose, weight, and BMI — to reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.

Aspirin therapy: 

Some women may benefit from daily low-dose aspirin to reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke. However, this should be discussed with a healthcare provider before proceeding with the same. 

Maintain a healthy weight: 

You should concentrate on weight management rather than weight loss. Obesity is a significant risk factor for heart disease, but optimum weight levels vary depending on the body type and medical history. Consult your doctor about your optimum weight goals for a healthier heart.


Physical activity is beneficial to your heart health. A minimum of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity four to five days a week is recommended by most cardiologists. If you don’t have time for a whole 30 minutes, break it up into 10- or 15-minute sessions. 

Select your drinks wisely: 

To cut calories, replace sugary drinks with water. If you drink alcohol, do it in moderation, with no more than one drink a day. If you are pregnant, avoid drinking alcohol.

Take medications exactly as prescribed: 

If you are taking medication to manage high cholesterol, hypertension, or diabetes, carefully follow your doctor’s instructions. If you don’t understand something, always ask questions. Never discontinue your medication without first consulting your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.

Make an appointment for your annual physical exam: 

When you’re feeling good, it’s easy to ignore the need of seeing a doctor on a regular basis. It is recommended to get an annual check-up to detect potential areas of concern connected to heart health. Early detection of problems might save you a lot of misery later on.

Don’t ignore subtle signs: 

Consult your doctor if you experience symptoms of heart disease, such as angina (tightness, pressure, or discomfort in your chest when exercising or worried). Seeking medical attention as soon as possible will help prevent a heart attack.

Closing thoughts

Being considerate about your heart health can help you gain control of your overall health and lower your risk of heart disease in the future. It’s never too early or late to prioritise your heart health. Small lifestyle adjustments and setting realistic, attainable objectives can help avoid heart disease and many of its risk factors.

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