Emotional, physical stress from pandemic increased women’s heart disease risk: Expert

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The coronavirus pandemic affected people in many ways, causing many challenges, especially for women.

Women’s risk of heart disease increased during the pandemic, an expert from Mayo Clinic in the US state of Minnesota, said in a statement on Wednesday, attributing the increased cardiovascular illness risk to stress.

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Many women had to navigate their complex roles during the pandemic, trying to balance their work, home and personal lives, which led to increased physical and emotional stress.

Stress by itself can also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and sometimes even trigger a heart attack,” cardiologist at Mayo Clinic Dr. Mayra Guerrero said, adding that it was her priority now to raise awareness on the matter.

“A poor diet can also be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease or lack of exercise,” she added.

Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women worldwide, Guerrero said, adding that “many women” were not aware of this fact.

While people cannot control their genetics when it comes to heart disease, they can have some control over their lifestyle choices which could, in turn, lead to lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

Making healthy lifestyle choices will help reduce this risk even for people who are genetically pre-disposed to cardiovascular diseases and conditions.

“Have a balanced diet that includes more fruits and vegetables, and include exercise in your daily life — ideally every day. But if not at least four days a week. And a very important one: No smoking.”

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