Inequality in Heart Disease Prevention for Women - Ellen Dolgen
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Inequality in Heart Disease Prevention for Women

Do you want to know what gets my heart rate up??????

Although heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women, women are often not cared for like men nor put on the appropriate prevention drugs.

Women are frequently advised to improve their lifestyles to prevent heart disease, while men are advised to take statins. That’s the finding of a study presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC)on December 8, 2022, in Singapore.

The study used data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2017-2020. The participants were men and women between the ages of 40 and 79. None of the 8,512 participants had a history of cardiovascular disease. However, 2,924 were at increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease because they had at least one risk factor for heart diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or smoking. Based on a validated risk calculator, they all had at least a 1 in 10 chance of experiencing an event like a heart attack or stroke in the next decade. These participants were eligible to receive a statin.

It is important to note that the guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which were published in March 2019 in Circulation, state that adults 45 to 75 years old who fit the profile described above should take a low-dose statin drug to lower cholesterol. The guidelines further suggest that patients in their early forties or with slightly lower 10-year risk should also take a statin. These guidelines do not indicate that men and women should be treated differently regarding heart disease prevention.

“Our study found that women are advised to lose weight, exercise, and improve their diet to avoid cardiovascular disease, but men are prescribed lipid-lowering medication. This is despite the fact that guideline recommendations to prevent heart disease are the same for men and women,” explained the study author Dr. Prima Wulandari of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Is YOUR heart rate up now????

This significant study highlights that heart disease prevention in women is inferior. WHY?????

According to Dr. Wulandari, “Following our analysis, we conducted a review of the literature to find possible explanations for the results. This demonstrated that a potential root of the discrepancy in advice is the misconception that women have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease than men. Our findings highlight the need for greater awareness among health professionals to ensure that both women and men receive the most up-to-date information on how to maintain heart health.”

Wulandari explains that heart disease may still be seen as a men’s disease, despite the statistics showing that women are also affected.

Also, the medical community is still not doing enough research on women.

The press release stated. “ESC cardiovascular prevention guidelines recommend that adults of all ages should do at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity, or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous intensity, aerobic physical activity a week, or an equivalent combination. Everyone should quit smoking. A healthy diet is recommended, emphasizing plant-based foods, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, pulses, and nuts. Salt should be limited to less than 5 g per day. It is advised that overweight and obese people lose weight to lower blood pressure, blood lipids, and the risk of diabetes, and thereby reduce the likelihood of cardiovascular disease. Statins are recommended according to individual characteristics including age and risk of developing heart disease.”

It is important to note that according to the American Heart Association, “An estimated 80% of cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, are preventable.”

This study certainly elevates the importance of understanding the inequities of medical care for women and highlights the need to advocate for proper healthcare. Speak up, ask questions, and demand the appropriate healthcare you need and deserve!

Reach out, speak up, and get the help you need and deserve.

Remember:  Suffering in silence is OUT!  Reaching out is IN.

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* does not recommend, endorse, or make any representation about any tests, studies, practices, procedures, treatments, services, opinions, healthcare providers, physicians, or medical institutions that may be mentioned or referenced.


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