Women have donned multiple roles, from being the nurturer and caregiver for the family to multi-tasking and leading at the professional front. Dedicated to their responsibilities, most often, they get caught up in the demands of day-to-day life that can be stressful in many ways. This stress often goes unnoticed and it can end up having larger ramifications on their health, specifically their heart health. Specific instances of stress are evident - tough deadlines at work, a big life change, loss of a loved one, etc. And we are all cognizant of this. However, in the day-to-day lives of women, there are many instances of stress that just go unnoticed. Simple tasks like ensuring family meals are prepared or children attend school on time can cause stress. This can be further exacerbated by meeting deadlines at work simultaneously or even completing the daily chores. These tasks are often unavoidable and hence the stress that comes with them is inevitable. However, there is a need to recognise the impact this can have on one's health.
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Many women are struggling during the pandemic period as well, with work-from-home and the housework to attend to, at the same time. For example, schools adopting digital classrooms, mothers hustling with school projects and checking items off their to-do lists, among other factors. Such inevitable expectations have increased the stress levels and have made it difficult for women to focus on their own wellbeing, further affecting their health.
Stress is known to impact heart health. In a recent survey, in cities like Mumbai and Delhi, it was found that 76% and 59% of the female population* respectively, who are stressed are at risk of heart problems. It is of concern to note that 58% of females who are at heart risk due to stress, do not consider stress among the top three risk factors, in the top three metros. These startling facts reveal the need to be cognizant of unseen stress and its impact on heart health, while also spreading this awareness to the women in our lives.
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To contribute to the wellbeing of women, we must encourage and motivate them to get an adequate uninterrupted sleep of at least seven to eight hours; indulge in 30 minutes of regular physical activity which they enjoy doing like brisk walking, Zumba, strength training, practice meditation and yoga, stay hydrated and eat well-balanced, healthy, timely meals. These steps are of utmost importance for proactive heart care and as partners, family members or friends, we must support and encourage the women in our lives to prioritize their health, undertake regular medical check-ups and take protective heart-healthy measures. Let this year be a start to a heart-healthy lifestyle.
About Author: Sheryl Salis is a registered dietician and certified diabetes educator.
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