Sunday, January 18, 2009

BLood pressure & heart issues

Cardiovascular issues have been in the forefront of male health issues. What we are finding is that like many other issues, women's risks were not explored. Who knows why...with fewer women being diagnosed with such problems, pharmaceutical companies did not have a vested interest in doing research for what was apparently not a potential client base. Women are underrepresented in drug trials, and this is a serious flaw in treatment and prevention of hospitalisations.

That said, as society improves and medicine and technology evolve, we are realising that women are at risk, too. I hope that this will change as we learn more are gender bias in medicine.

A 2008 October CBC article titled:Cardiovascular disease: An equal opportunity killer but while men outnumber women in heart attack incidents, women are not improving outcomes as much as men. It is beyond the scope of this blog to speculate why, suffice it to say that women must be vigilant in ensuring that they are monitoring their health and that they must be careful about symptoms and slap dash solutions to health issues. In running a Blood Pressure clinic I found one woman whose high blood pressure issues were poo-poohed by the attending emergency staff, and she was discharged and told to contact her Family Physician (FP). Her FP could not see her for two weeks, despite an extraordinarily high reading.


While the statistics are telling, men have reduced deaths from heart attacks by 49 %, while women have only reduced theirs by 24 %. Women are less likely to be referred to specialists, receive angioplasty or cardiac bypass surgery, or see a cardiologist in the meantime. Women's chances of dying within 30 days of a heart attack are 16 % higher for women, and for strokes, 11% higher than a man's risk. This would seem a highly preventable problem.

You can prevent this by having regular blood pressure checks, many FP offices and clinics offer these, and having your cholestrol levels checked on a regular basis. As with mamograms and PSA tests, early identification and prevention is the key.

Signs of a stroke
  • Weakness, numbness or tingling in your face, arms or legs, perhaps on one side of your body
  • Trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • Sudden blurring, double vision or loss of vision
  • Sudden sever headache
  • Dizziness, loss of balance
Signs of a heart attack
  • Sudden pain in chest, neck, jaw, shoulders, arms or back
  • Pain that feels like squeezing, heaviness, pressure, buring or tightness
  • Problems breathing
  • INdigestion
  • Vomiting, nausea
  • Clammy skins

Studies examine such things as dietary calcium using milk, as we know women have issues keeping calcium in their body, as studies of oseoporosis demnostrate, what with hormonal issues. This Italian study also indicates that calcium helps with lowering blood pressure.
Another study indicates recent clinical and biochemical evidence of calcium as it affect stroke risk. This study examines the effect of saturated fat.

It would be wise to limit saturated fats, get exercise, eat a blance of the four food groups, meditate, and look after your body, as you will be a long time fighting, when you can be playing with a little prevention, rather than a cure. Ask questions of your FP. Go to for more information.

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