Research Confirms that Heart Disease's Presentation and Treatment Varies by Sex
Research released as National Women's Heart Health Month begins shows that heart disease manifests differently in women than in men and requires independent study and treatment, confirming a report on women's health in the current issue of Ms magazine. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s study, “Women’s Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation” (or WISE), asserts that rather than blocking off entire arteries, cholesterol plaque spreads more evenly in women’s arteries, which is equally dangerous and less successfully diagnosed by doctors trained to look for symptoms more frequently seen in men.
Speaking to Ms., Dr. Andra Blomkalns, of the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, stated, “[t]he key factor is that women often present differently” than men. Blomkalns notes that rather than becoming nauseous, sweating and having pain in the chest and arms as men typically do, women with heart problems often suffer from what seem to be gastrointestinal problems or have pain in their face or back. Even when a successful diagnosis is made, women often receive insufficient or inappropriate treatment. C. Noel Bairey Merz, chair of the WISE study said, “…the basis of our standard methods of diagnosis and treatment are the result of research conducted on men.” As reported in Ms., standard prevention, diagnostic, and treatment techniques, such as bypass surgery, digitalis, aspirin, and the exercise treadmill test, are more successful in treating men than women.
Recognition that both diagnosis and treatment needs to be considered in light of the patient’s sex has the potential to save many women’s lives. It is thought that nearly 3 million American women may suffer from heart problems, and heart disease is the number one killer of women. Speaking of the research, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s George Sopko told the Washington Post, “This is a big deal. This is changing our thinking about heart disease in many women.”
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .