Women at high risk for heart disease, marginalized in trials

CLEVELAND – Heart disease remains the leading killer of women around the world, of all ages, communities and colors.

According to doctors at the Cleveland Clinic, women tend to develop certain types of heart disease and have different symptoms like extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, and a lump in their throat when they try to exercise. Yet the American College of Cardiology Cardiovascular Disease reports that women are under-represented in clinical trials. Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic told News 5 that women typically make up only 30% of clinical trial participants.

“The participation rate of women in some cardiology trials has even dropped over the past two years, which is really concerning,” said Dr. Leslie Cho, director of the Women’s Cardiovascular Center and chief of preventive cardiology and cancer. cardiac rehabilitation at the Cleveland Clinic. .

A study published last year found that 86 commonly prescribed drugs performed differently in women compared to men.

Cho explained that differential care, logistical barriers, and convenience are some of the reasons women are not included. Women are often not referred to specialized centers for treatment.

“In order to take notice of the trials or even be considered for a trial, you need to be seen in a specialty clinic and women are less likely to do that,” Cho said.

However, the main reason may be a lack of confidence.

“Every voice counts. Every life counts. And so it’s very important to include all people in clinical trials, ”Cho said.

So what is being done to remedy these differences?

Cho and her team released a new study suggesting that more regulators like the FDA and insurance companies need to hold drug companies more accountable while ensuring they include more women in cardiovascular clinical trials for concerns drugs and treatments.

“Think about your children, your grandchildren and your granddaughters, because they will be the ones who will benefit,” she said.

To participate in a clinical trial, click on here.


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