Pune-ex mayor dies of heart attack, docs warn about its risks in women

Nearly two-thirds of the deaths from heart attacks in women occur among those who have no history of chest pain. A stressful and sedentary lifestyle has led to early menopause which ups the risk of heart attack. Smoking, diabetes and abnormal blood lipids also erase estrogen levels, which are women’s natural protection

Pune-ex mayor dies of heart attack, docs warn about its risks in women

  • Pune’s ex-Mayor, Chanchala Kodre died of a heart attack on Monday. She was just 42-year-old.
  • She was hospitalised on Sunday night when she complained of chest pain.
  • She was elected for the first time in Pune Municipal Corporation’s 2012 elections. When she got elected for the second time, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) had given her the position of mayor.
  • After death of a Pune’s ex-mayor, cardiologists have stated that they have witnessed a rising trend in the increase of heart ailments especially among women in their 40’s.

Doctors believe that a stressful and sedentary lifestyle is snatching away the biological protection women earlier had from heart ailments in the past.

Dr Hemant Kokane, a cardiologist from Sassoon Hospital, Pune, said, “I have three patients admitted in the hospital who have had severe heart attack. Our changing lifestyle has lowered the age for developing heart related ailments. The protective factor of age is now dominated by the risk factors caused by lifestyle.”

Dr Sanjeev Jadhav, a Pune based cardiologist, said, “This is not a new phenomenon and changes in our lifestyle are leading to heart failure at early age. The only remedy is preventive action where regular check-ups must be done.”

Dr Sudhir Pillai, consultant cardiologist in PD Hinduja Hospital said, “Women have a certain protection from heart ailments in the form of the female sex hormone estrogen which tends to raise HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol levels). But stressful and sedentary lifestyle has led to early menopause, women undergoing surgical removal of uterus. Once this happen, their natural protection to heart ailments also ceases. Perhaps that is why we are seeing more women with heart ailments.”

He further said gender biased is not seen in a metro city like Mumbai but women tend to wait till the time these symptoms evolve. “They tend to ignore and most of the times, the recognition of the symptoms are not picked up,” said Dr Pillai.

It has also been observed that other than genetic factors; obesity, stress and modern lifestyles play a dominant role in making men and women prone to coronary diseases in India.

“Women come with cardiovascular disease very late as they tend to ignore the symptoms. This is more common in rural population. More awareness has to be brought in towards women and heart ailment,” said Dr Ajit Menon, cardiologist- Lilavati hospital.

Medical facts about heart ailment and women

  • 71% of women experience early warning signs of heart attack with sudden onset of extreme weakness that feels like the flu – often with no chest pain at all. Medical professionals are challenged to respond to women’s milder symptoms, acting with insufficient guidelines.
  • Nearly two-thirds of the deaths from heart attacks in women occur among those who have no history of chest pain.
  • Smoking, diabetes and abnormal blood lipids erase a woman’s estrogen protection.
  • Women who smoke risk having a heart attack 19 years earlier than non-smoking women.
  • Women with hypertension experience a risk of developing CHD 3.5 times that of females with normal blood pressure. High blood pressure is more common in women taking oral contraceptives, especially in obese women.
  • Women with diabetes have more than double the risk of heart attack than non- diabetic women. Diabetes doubles the risk of a second heart attack in women but not in men. Diabetes affects many more women than men after the age of 45.