Women see growing risk of heart disease
by Quynh Hoa
HCM CITY (VNS) — Women are as prone to cardiovascular diseases (CVD) as men, if not more so, experts said at a seminar on Saturday.
|Cigarette smoking increases the risk of cardiovascular disease in woman, say health experts. — File Photo
Royal Philips Electronics and HCM City University Medical Centre, organisers of the seminar, said they aimed to raise public awareness of cardiovascular diseases (CVD), especially among women.
Called "Cardiovascular diseases – from understanding to action," the seminar marked observance of the World Heart Day 2012.
Philips, a company that sells cardiac care, acute care and home healthcare equipment, sponsored free heart check-ups at the University of Medical Centre for seminar participants.
According to the World Heart Federation, women routinely underestimate their risk of CVD, and the two most common misconceptions are that CVD is a "man's disease" and that it mostly affects older people.
But CVD affects women and children equally, it says.
CVD affects 1 in 3 women and is the number one killer worldwide, the federation says. It causes 17.3 million deaths each year, which is more than malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis combined.
Ph.D. Nguyen Hoang Dinh, head of Department of Cardiovascular Surgery at the HCM City University Medical Centre, said increased awareness among women about CVD can facilitate early prevention of the problem.
He hoped that the seminar will help Vietnamese citizens understand more about advanced treatments for cardiological problems.
"CVD differs in women and men, and women often underestimate their risk of CVD. As a result, many of them are in the advanced stages of CVD when they visit the doctor. We do not want this behavior to become a habit," he said.
Ngo Van Huy, country manager of Philips Viet Nam, said, "Women have the higher risk of CVD – about 1.7 times more than a male. Fifty percent of women could be at risk of CVD. It has become one of our national health issues."
He said that despite the severity of the situation, many women are still not receiving enough information about CVD. Philips has partnered with the Viet Nam Heart Federation to organize activities to educate the public and women in Viet Nam about CVD.
"We have also conducted several CVD seminars for healthcare professionals to learn more about new solutions in the diagnosis and treatment of CVD patients."
Huy also said his company has been short-listed by the Ministry of Health as a provider of the most advanced CVD equipment for hospitals.
Dr. Bui The Dung of the HCM City University of Medicine said that by 2015, 20 million people will die of CVD worldwide, about 80 per cent of them from developing countries.
In Viet Nam, more than 20 per cent of the population are likely to suffer from CVD by 2017, he said.
He pointed out cigarette smoking carries the highest risk of CVDs in females, adding that it can be prevented. This risk factor can decrease by 50 per cent if women stop smoking cigarettes for one year, he said.
Echoing Dung, Dr. Ngo Bao Khoa of the University Medical Centre's Department of Cardiovascular Surgery said other preventable factors for CVDs include high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and lack of exercise.
Age, heredity and sex are some of the "unpreventable risks," he said.
Many more women die of cardiovascular diseases than men, Khoa said, advising them to stop or avoid smoking and control their weight, blood pressure and blood sugar levels. — VNS