Coronary artery disease epidemic among Indians

The distribution of CAD risk factors varies between men and women across age ranges and failure to consider these differences may have contributed to the belief that women are at lower risk of CAD compared with men.
Representative image
Representative image

CHENNAI: Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the leading cause of mortality and morbidity of both men and women accounting for over one third of total deaths. It has reached epidemic proportion among Indians. It accounts for 1 out of 3 women death regardless of the race or ethnicity.

Despite the increasing prevalence of CAD in women, there is persistent perception that CAD is a man’s disease. The incidence of CAD in women is lower than men in younger years, but rises steadily after 50 years. The distribution of CAD risk factors varies between men and women across age ranges and failure to consider these differences may have contributed to the belief that women are at lower risk of CAD compared with men. In addition, women are more likely to have symptoms considered atypical compared with men.

“In women, the annual mortality rate from CAD is high. The worldwide INTERHEART Study revealed that women have their first presentation of coronary heart disease approximately 10 years later than men, most commonly after menopause. Women lose this 10-year advantage if they smoke, have diabetes, or had premature menopause. Prevalence of CAD is higher in men prior to firth decade of life. During sixth decade it equalizes and subsequently it becomes greater in women,” Dr Vivek M, Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Dr Mehta’s Hospitals said. In Framingham heart study the one-year mortality following an myocardial infarction was 44 per cent in women compared to 27 per cent in men.

“Lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise and quitting of alcohol and tobacco use can improve heart health. Medication, including ones that treat risk factors like blood pressure, or to dissolve blood clots are helpful,” said Dr Jyotirmaya Dash, Cardiac Sciences, Interventional Cardiology, Fortis Hospitals.

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