In 2011, Noel Bairey Merz, gave a TedTalk about her 15 years of research involving the study of women and heart disease.
Since 1984, four times as many women have die of heart disease compared to men. While most people believe heart disease a predominantly male health problem, studies show heart disease affects women more than men.
Merz found men were being treated for heart disease and heart attacks much easier than women because their symptoms are generally the same each time, and women’s differ. Men store their fat in one place, whereas women store theirs throughout their body making it more difficult to see the problems and offer treatment.
Because men’s heart disease has been studied for more than 50 years, doctors can easily pinpoint on an angiogram where the blockage is. Women’s heart disease research is 35 years behind and is trying to catch up. That’s why heart disease has typically been thought of as a “man’s disease”.
Merz did realize using an MRI instead of a CAT scan or x-ray works well to diagnose women and see where the blockage lies. However, because women’s symptoms are not as recognizable and often passed off as a different issue, women die in higher numbers from heart disease than men.
The ultimate breakthrough Merz and her team discovered is in stem cell therapy. They found women’s stem cells are far more powerful than men’s, even when placed in a man’s body. Theoretically, women should live longer than men, but are simply being overlooked on the medical front in regards to heart disease.
The research Merz and others like her are performing could soon diminish heart disease fatalities in women. They are already curving the deaths of women with heart disease. The future holds a lot of promise for women’s heart disease.
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