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Women’s Health Groups Release Pioneering Report on Heart Disease

The Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR) and WomenHeart: the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, joined by Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues co-chairs Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL) and Hilda Solis (D-CA), released a new report on yesterday examining the ways in which heart disease affects women. The report, The 10 Q Report: Advancing Women’s Heart Health Through Improved Research, Diagnosis and Treatment, is the result of a survey of cardiovascular experts who were asked to identify “the top ten unanswered research questions” regarding women and heart disease. Heart disease is currently the number one cause of death for American women, killing approximately 367,000 women each year.

Some of the questions identified by experts include how to best predict women’s risk of heart disease, how to prevent it, how to eliminate differences in care between white women and women of color, and why women under 50 are more likely to suffer fatal heart attacks than their male peers. The report further recommends a research plan to address these questions and improve medical care for women in all stages of heart disease. Representative Julia Carson (D-IN), who was sworn into office while she was in the hospital recovering from heart disease, stated, “Women’s need for education and sensitivity to the dangers of heart disease cannot be overemphasized; we must have a support structure to prevent the premature death and disability that it causes.”

As is reported in the current issue of Ms. Magazine, as well as recently in the New York Times and Washington Post, new research suggests that women’s diagnoses, treatments, and prognoses differ significantly from those of men with heart disease. Current understanding of the disease is primarily based on research on male subjects and the symptoms can be very different in women, so women often go undiagnosed and then receive inappropriate treatment. The questions asked in The 10 Q Report are meant to “help doctors gain the knowledge they need to provide women optimal care for prevention, diagnosis, and the treatment of heart disease,” says Sharonne N. Hayes, M.D., director of the Mayo Clinic Women’s Heart Clinic.

LEARN MORE Read the 10 Q Report

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Sources:

Feminist Daily News Wire 2/2/06; SWHR and WomenHeart press release 2/14/06; The 10 Q Report: Advancing WomenÕs Heart Health Through Improved Research, Diagnosis and Treatment 2/14/06