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At Mayo Clinic, I learned that until recently, most cardiac research over the past three decades has been done primarily with male participants, or with women participating in “statistically insignificant numbers’. Women do volunteer for hormone or breast cancer clinical trials – but we don’t seem as interested in participating in cardiac research.
Many of us still mistakenly believe that heart disease is a man’s problem, even though it is the #1 killer of women. At the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress in Toronto last fall, researchers announced that women are still under-represented in heart research. Although 53% of heart disease patients are women, we make up only 25-34% of the subjects in most cardiac studies.
That doesn’t mean that treatments aren’t approved for women. But researchers know far less about how heart disease works in women, and how women may react to drugs and other treatments. So when reading research reports, always consider the gender balance in the study methodology.
♥ If you’re a heart attack survivor, please consider participating in the Yale University Heart Study, or the Mayo Clinic studies for survivors of Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD). FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HOW YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN CURRENT HEART RESEARCH!
♥ And here’s how to make sense of medical research studies.
♥ Instead of taking a ‘bikini approach’ to women’s health care – in which women’s health research focused on breasts and the reproductive system – Women’s College Hospital in Toronto offers this comprehensive list of resources examining gender differences.
- Cardiac Research: Where Did All The Women Go?
- Medical Journalism Watchdog Slams Cardiac Polypill News Hype
- Are Women Being Left Behind in Cardiac Research?
- Doctors On The Take: How To Read The Fine Print in Cardiac Research Reports
- Medical Ghostwriting Scandal: Doctors Sign Names to Drug Company Marketing Lies
- The Ethical Nag: Marketing Ethics for the Easily Swayed
RECENT NEWS UPDATES:
FDA warns that popular blood pressure drug can cause severe diarrhea (Benicar in the U.S., Olmetec in EU, Canada and Japan) – Cardiobrief
Calcium in food or supplements increases women’s cardiovascular risk and does not prevent bone fractures - British Medical Journal
Pregnancy-Related Complications Predict Cardiovascular Disease in Middle Age – American Heart Association
Structural Changes in Hearts of PreTerm Babies – Circulation
Perceived Stress in Myocardial Infarction: Long-Term Mortality and Health Status Outcomes – Journal of the American College of Cardiology
Taking painkillers increases death risk, second heart attacks in survivors, American Heart Association
FDA adds Diabetes warning to statin drug label, MedPage Today
Breast cancer irradiation tied to coronary stenosis - Journal of Clinical Oncology
Multaq for atrial fibrillation increases rates of heart failure, stroke, and death in high risk patients - New England Journal of Medicine
Multaq for atrial fibrillation “unsafe for many patients” – Therapeutic Initiatives
EMA recommends restricting anti-arrhythmia drug Multaq – European Medicines Society
Cigarette smoking causes more arterial damage in women than in men – European Society of Cardiology
New research links obesity with atrial fibrillation heart rhythm disorder – University of Adelaide
FDA Approves new anti-clotting bloodthinner for heart attack patients – Wall Street Journal
Stop-smoking drug Chantix/Champix linked to heart risks - Canadian Medical Association Journal
Calcium supplements and heart risk: new fears – British Medical Journal
Common Painkillers Risky For Heart Attack Survivors – Circulation
New guidelines warn of link between pregnancy complications and heart disease – American Heart Association
ICD implants “non-evidence-based” in 22.5% of recipients – Journal of the American Medical Association
Rescue breathing may not be needed for adult CPR – The Lancet
Dental care linked to heart health in older women – Health Economics
Religion not associated with better cardiovascular health - Northwestern University
EKG can show false positive results - Henry Ford Hospital
Obesity is poor gauge of detecting high cholesterol in children - University of Michigan
Venous thrombosis risk rises with some birth control pills- Leiden University
Woman gets first wireless-monitor pacemaker implanted – UK Daily Mail
New study endorses heart benefits of fish oil- American College of Cardiology
Cardiac risk factors on the rise in Canada – CMA Journal
First Stem Cells Injected to Regrow Dead Heart Muscle- Cedars Sinai Heart Institute
White Bread, Cornflakes Could Increase Heart Disease Risks - Journal of the American College of Cardiology
Women with Chest Pain Less Likely To Get Optimal Treatment from Paramedics, Women’s Health Matters
Unhappy Marriage Bad for Women’s Heart Health, Heart & Stroke Foundation
No Evidence That Daily Baby Aspirin Prevents Heart Attacks, Oxford University
Genetic Link Between Gum Disease and Heart Attacks, European Society of Human Genetics
Canadian Women In The Dark About Their Health, Women’s College Hospital
Belly Fat in Women: How To Keep It Off, Mayo Clinic
Gender Differences in Diagnosis & Management of Heart Disease, Women’s Heart Foundation
Study Explores Women’s Rare Blood Pressure Condition, Heart & Stroke Foundation
Breast Best for Mom’s Heart, Obstetrics & Gynecology, May 2009
Women More Likely To Miss or Ignore Heart Attack Warning Signs, Yale School of Medicine.
Misdiagnoses Result in Higher Coronary Heart Disease Mortality Rates in Women Than in Men, Therapeutic Advances in Cardiovascular Disease, October 2008
Aspirin Improves Survival in Women with Stable Heart Disease, Women’s Health Initiative
Migraine Raises Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine
Menopause Increases Risk of Heart Disease, Canadian Women’s Health Network
♥ Please consider participating in cardiac research about women’s heart disease.