On 8 march is the International Women’s day. A good time to reflect on the vrouwenhart. More women than men die of heart disease, heart ailments are worldwide even number one cause of death in women. Nine questions to vrouwenhartcardiologe Angela Maas.
How can it be that there are more women than men die of heart disease?
“Complaints are when women are often not on time recognized. Heart problems, express themselves different than with men. The heart works the same, but the way the veins calcify is different. In men are becoming the major arteries close. In women it is often the small blood vessels aging. That gives other problems.”
What complaints get women?
“Where men have chest pain at effort, women are often pain in the jaw, back or between the shoulder blades. The pain occurs just at rest: if they are in the evening on the couch or lying in bed.”
“The small blood vessels are stiffer and there may be vessel arise. That provides except for pain, sometimes also dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, a hunted feeling, and sweats. Many women do not know that their heart is.”
Dr. Angela Maas, professor of cardiology for women at Radboudumc Nijmegen and founder of the foundation Heart for Women, which advocates for multidisciplinary research focused on heart disease in women.
Know general practitioners than not that the symptoms with the heart?
“More and more general practitioners are aware of this, but unfortunately not all of them. They are due to the ‘vague’ complaints of stress or transition. Among other things it takes twice as long before a woman with heart problems to the cardiologist ends up.”
“The longer it takes for you something to the complaints, the greater the chance eventually to a myocardial infarction or stroke to death”
Angela Maas, vrouwenhartcardioloog
“The longer it takes for you something to the complaints, the greater the chance eventually to a myocardial infarction or stroke to death.”
They know in the hospital do something about the vrouwenhart?
“Also among cardiologists is still ignorance. During the cardiac catheterization, you see a man, very clearly, a narrowing of the blood vessel. When women are narrowing is diffuse in the large vessels and in the smaller blood vessels. That is with catheterisation not to be seen. Sometimes, women are then sent home with the message that it is not in their heart. As a result, they often take years to with complaints around without anything being done.”
How is it possible that so little is known about the vrouwenhart?
“There is a lot known. Doctors need this new information as well, only to take and act on them.”
“The female health running tremendously behind. Scientific research is traditionally men have done. Women, with their fluctuating hormone levels are too unstable image. Even animals are therefore often of the male gender. By that ‘male’ research, the differences between men and women long overlooked.”
“A bad case that is fortunately on the wane. The last years, research focused increasingly on the functioning of the vrouwenhart and the differences between men and women.”
How can the fact that women are much more to heart pain suffering than in the past?
“Women are the last forty years or more start to behave like men that already do: they, too, are a smoker, work (with more stress as a result) and less exercise.”
“Smoking is twice as harmful for women”
Angela Maas, vrouwenhartcardioloog
“In addition, the impact of some risk factors is greater for women. Smoking is twice as harmful for women.”
“Other risk factors include heart disease in the family, diabetes or gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and high blood pressure during pregnancy. Also borstkankerbehandeling increases the risk of hartschade. And the transition is a risk factor.”
What is the role of the transition?
“Female hormones protect women against vaatschade to the coronary arteries. The vessels remain healthy and supple. These estrogens have a beneficial effect on fat metabolism. Therefore, they contribute to a good cholesterolverhouding in the blood. They also have a natural vasodilator effect. That, in turn, has a positive influence on blood pressure.”
“When the oestrogeenproductie from the thirtieth year of life slowly subsides, the vessels more vulnerable. Furthermore, an increased ignition sensitivity and a distorted cholesterolverhouding: after the transition is the ‘incorrect’ LDL-cholesterol by 15 percent. Also, the blood pressure rises. That makes you more susceptible to atherosclerosis.”
What can women themselves do to their hearts?
“Listen to their body. Go with pain in the back or shoulder, a hunted feeling, shortness of breath, or fatigue without apparent reason, to the doctor.”
“The faster you are, the greater the chance that the damage is limited. 80 percent of all heart disease can be prevented with the help of lifestyle. Move enough and eat healthily. Eat as you get older less. From your fortieth slows the metabolism.”
“Further: do not be too perfectionist and avoid stress, which is one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease.”
What’s even more?
“Check both the blood pressure as the cholesterol. At home or at the doctor. The total cholesterol should not be higher than 5, the ‘bad’ LDL-cholesterol should not be higher than 3 and the ‘good’ HDL should be higher than 1. The blood pressure should be below 120/80.”