Heart Disease #1 killer of women in US

No conspiracy as I see it.  In the late 60’s when the first studies were done only men were included.  Men were dying at age 40 – 55.  Women were not dying until they got into their 60’s and 70’s.  Therefore, there are few women dying.  Medicine woke up as we, as a nation, grew older. 

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From USA Today:

Most women carry a higher long-term risk of heart disease than they realize and should act now to prevent heart attacks and stroke, say American Heart Association guidelines issued today.

The guidelines are more far-reaching than those released in 2004. They focus not on a woman’s immediate risk but what is likely to happen as she ages.

“Many women can be at low short-term risk, but in the course of a woman’s life, she has a nearly 1-in-3 chance of dying of heart disease,” says Lori Mosca, director of preventive cardiology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. “It’s misguided to think you have a low risk of a condition you have a 1-in-3 chance of dying of.

“Right now, 34% of American women (38 million) are living with heart disease,” says Mosca, chairwoman of the heart association’s guideline committee. “When you have something that common, it’s important we all take action to control our risk.”

No one knows precisely why women are less likely to have heart attacks or strokes as early in life as men do. Some experts say a young woman’s estrogen levels may be protective; others say the male hormone testosterone is harmful, says Jay Cohen of the University of Minnesota.

Cohen says he welcomes the new guidelines because as many women die of heart disease as men, just at a later age. “Really, we should be worried at 30 and 40 not about what’s going to happen in the next five years but what’s going to happen later on.” (more…)

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.

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