Mortality and morbidity due to cardiovascular disease (or Ischaemic heart disease) is on the rise in women in Middle Eastern countries. Heart disease once thought to affect only men does frequently affect women and worldwide, 8.6 million women die from heart disease each year, accounting for a third of all deaths in women. Dr. Latha Dulipsingh, Medical Director of Endocrine and Bone Health at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Connecticut, USA, will be speaking about this growing health concern at the Woman’s Health Programme taking place on 3rd April at the Obs-Gyne Exhibition & Congress in Dubai.
“Women wait longer than men to go to an emergency room when having a heart attack and physicians are slower to recognize the presence of heart attacks in women because “characteristic” patterns of chest pain and EKG changes are less frequently present,” says Dr. Dulipsingh. “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.”
According to Dr. Dulipsingh, risk factors for women include diabetes, obesity, hypertension, hyperlipidemia and smoking. “Risk assessment can be based on the Framingham Risk Score which is calculated based on the individual’s age, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and weight. If the score is 20 they are at high risk,” she explains.
Research from the Bahrain Centre for Studies & Research suggests that, unlike in Europe and North America, obesity in the Arab region is more prevalent in women, urban areas and those of higher socioeconomic status. In Jordan, for example the prevalence of obesity was 56% in urban areas compared with 44% in rural areas. Similar trends were found in Egypt, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Morocco, Oman, Tunisia and Turkey.
Latest studies also suggest that apart from Vitamin D deficiency’s adverse effects on bone health in women and their offspring, vitamin D deficiency has the potential to cause or exacerbate heart failure in women.
“In asymptomatic patients routine screening is not indicated as it will not affect outcomes however it helps to treat the risk factors,” says Dr. Dulipsingh. “As with most disease states prevention will be the first step. Diet and exercise along with life style modifications play a major role in decreasing the incidence of obesity and thus other co morbid illnesses like diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia.”
Obs-Gyne Exhibition & Congress 2012 is the largest gathering of obstetricians and gynecologists in the MENA region. “2012 will be our biggest year to date with an extensive 3-day congress programme covering four major topics including breast cancer, women’s health, midwifery and obs-gyne, with 1,500 doctors in attendance,” says Simon Page, Managing Director – Life Sciences, Informa Exhibitions, organisers of the event. “The partnership with the PAN Arab Association of Obs-Gyne Societies ensures that this is a truly regional (not just UAE) event.”
There is a 40% growth in the size of the Obs-Gyne Exhibition this year and visitors will be able to see market leaders from the fields of mammography, ultrasound, pharmaceuticals, endoscopy and cord blood banks on exhibition floor.