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Strong Emotional Stress Triggering Heart Attack Symptoms in Women: Dr. Sajjan Pal

As we know that women are considered as half population. They play a very important role in the family, society, and country. So their physical fitness and mental health are required for the development of the country. In an exclusive interview with senior journalist SK Pandey well-known physiotherapist Dr. Sajjan Pal has expressed his views and given some essential tips for women to maintain heart health. Here are the main points of the interview-

What is the meaning of fitness for common people?

Fitness doesn’t mean that you are an ultra marathon runner. Fitness is about feeling good and live the healthy lifestyle which you want to live. It is physical well-being that balances our physical and emotional health.

What does fitness do for our bodies?

Fitness is just not necessary to maintain beauty but also to improve your health and quality of life. Fitness improves your physical and mental health. There are various benefits of physical activity/fitness like improvement in cholesterol levels, sleep quality, bone health, digestive health, reduce anxiety, reduce risk of hypertension, diabetes, and heart diseases.

Many people think that heart disease is common in men. Is it true?

You may think that heart attack or heart diseases are common in men. But it’s not true. It is important for both men and women. Symptoms in women may be vague and not as noticeable as the crushing chest pain often associated with heart attacks. This could be because, in women, blockages are present not only in the main artery but also in small arteries that supply blood to the heart. This is called a coronary microvascular disease (small vessels heart disease). Women tend to have symptoms more often when resting, or even when asleep than they do in men.

Women are more emotional than men. Do you think that being emotional has many side effects regarding heart disease in women?

Emotional stress plays a major role in triggering heart attack symptoms in women because women don’t always recognize their symptoms as those of a heart attack. They tend to show up in emergency rooms after heart damage has occurred and also because their symptoms often differ from men. Women might be diagnosed less often with heart disease than men. Risk factors for heart diseases in women are diabetes, smoking, inactive lifestyle, stress, obesity, depression, low estrogen level after menopause, any family history of cardiac issues, and pregnancy complications.

What is the role of regular physical activity?

Regular physical activity helps to keep your heart healthy. Exercises reduce blood pressure and body weight. It reduces LDL level i.e. bad cholesterol levels in your blood and improves HDL level i.e. good cholesterol levels. It is recommended that you consult a doctor before starting an exercise program. Start out slowly, begin 10 minutes light exercises or brisk walk every day, if you have been inactive for years. Even low to moderate activities like walking, stairs climbing, dancing, gardening, household work at a high pace and home exercise can help to reduce heart disease risk.

Do you think that Aerobic exercises are useful in maintaining the heart?

Aerobic exercises for 30 minutes a day like running, walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, and skipping improve heart health. “To maintain an optimal cardiovascular health, American Heart Association recommends exercises for 150 minutes with moderate-intensity aerobic activities per week”. Living a healthy lifestyle helps to reduce the risk of heart problems. Aerobic activity gets your heart rate up and benefits your heart by improving cardiorespiratory fitness. When done at moderate intensity, your heart will beat faster and you’ll breathe harder than normal, but you’ll still be able to talk. 

Give some basic points for a healthy heart so that women could follow in their busy schedule.

For a healthy heart- do regular exercise, eat a healthy diet, maintain a healthy weight, quit smoking, manage your stress and follow a treatment plan. If you’ve been sedentary for years, today is the day you can begin to make healthy changes in your life. Set a reachable goal for today. Don’t let all-or-nothing thinking keep you from doing what you can every day. The simplest way to get moving and improve your health is to start walking. It’s free, easy, and can be done just about anywhere, even in place. Any amount of movement is better than none.

Suggest 2-3 daily exercises which can be done within 10 minutes for a healthy heart.

  To keep your heart healthy, start with a walk then add Jogging and running. Take stairs instead of elevators. Walk and do stretching during coffee/lunch break. Do household activities at a high pace.

(Dr. Sajjan Pal is presently working as Assistant Professor with SGT University, Gurugram in Physiotherapy department)

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