Gender Bias in the Research

The common belief once was that when women reach menopause, our risk of developing a heart attack or coronary heart disease (CHD) becomes the same as a man’s.  Right? How many women believe this? I know I did, so I was not worried.  And I do not believe that your genes are your fate either.  For example, if your father died of coronary artery disease, this does not mean this will be your fate.  You are what your eat and science now proves it.

When I had my heart attacks there was little  said about young or middle-aged women from ages 45-54 having heart attacks. The belief has been widespread that women have the same risks as a man after we enter our 60s.   However, we know now that this is not true. In fact, because it has become understood that younger women do suffer heart disease, and heart attacks research must now reevaluate treatment protocols. Because of the gender bias in developing treatments, medical scientists now understand that treatments based on men’s bodies and ages don’t work on women the same way. Treatments developed for men may not be effective for women.  This is due largely to the fact that women were typically excluded in studies.

In fact, researchers now recognize additional bias concerning ethnicity. African-American, Hispanic-American, and Latin-American women appear to be at a greater risk for developing heart disease compared to Caucasian women of similar socioeconomic status (American Heart Association, 2006). Therefore, not only are more women’s focused studies needed, but also studies regarding ethnic backgrounds in women.

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