8 Important facts about women’s cardiovascular system.
In the second half of the 20th century, cardiology became a separate field of medicine, which was developed by men for men. Meanwhile, gender differences in this area do matter. We will tell you about the features of the female heart and risk factors for the development of cardiovascular diseases.
A Special Rhythm
The heart works like a pump, it is formed muscle tissue – the myocardium, which can contract. At rest, the heart rate (HR) in an adult man ranges from 60 to 80 beats per minute, or 10o thousand beats per day. For professional athletes, this indicator is significantly lower. However, for the average person, physical activity, fear or emotional stress accelerate the heart rate to 200 beats per minute.
In contrast to men, the heart in women beats more often – by 3-5 beats per minute more. It is generally accepted that normal resting heart rate should be below 70 beats per minute for men and below 80 foe women.
Accuracy Of ECG Results
The electrical impulse that causes the heart to contract comes from the so-called sinus node, which is located in the wall of the right atrium. Pulses are recorded using an ECG, a method that was originally developed for the average slim adult man whose chest is different from that of a women. Not only does its size vary greatly, women with large breast have to set the electrodes too low, which reduces the accuracy of the ECG results.
Pregnancy as a “stress test”
During pregnancy, the heart has to work with renewed vigor. At the 28th week, the load reaches its maximum. Often during this period, heart diseases that existed long before that are detected. In particular, due to previously undetected mitral stenosis, shortness of breath and arrhythmia may occur.
Women with congenital or acquired heart defects during pregnancy should be observed by a cardiologist who has experience in managing such patients, and they are recommended to give birth in a hospital. This reduces the likelihood of serious complications for the mother and baby.
For women with an increased risk of CVD, pregnancy can be viewed as a kind of “stress test” for the cardiovascular system. Problems can manifest as high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, or even HELLP syndrome.