FEB 05, 2016 7:48 AM PST

Scientists Study Gender Differences As A Risk Factor for Heart Disease

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker
Scientists often see differences in disease prevalence between the male and female population, but now scientists are looking at gender differences rather than sex. In a new study from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC), published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers observed a connection between gender and cardiovascular risk.
 

 
For the purpose of their study, the team from the RI-MUHC defines gender like this:

“… the socially constructed roles, behaviors, expressions and identities of girls, women, boys, men, and gender diverse people.”

A survey of 1000 Canadians between the ages of 18 and 55 was conducted, and all of the participants had been hospitalized for acute coronary syndrome (ACS) between 2009 and 2013. Each participant completed an “elaborate questionnaire related to gender,” which the researchers translated into a gender index of 1 to 100. The questionnaire included a variety of questions pertaining to societal traditions of gender. Then, the scientists could designate how strongly each participant, regardless of biological sex (male and female), identified with certain socially constructed feminine or masculine characteristics.
 
The results showed that the more a participant showed “personality traits ascribed to women,” the higher his or her risk was of an ACS recurrence. As defined by the American Heart Association, ACS is an umbrella term for any event where “blood supplied to the heart muscle is suddenly blocked.” This includes heart attack and unstable angina.
 
The team conducting this study believes that the increased cardiovascular risk for participants identifying with a certain gender comes from chronic anxiety.
 
"There are likely multiple reasons to explain the presence of increased anxiety in men and women with characteristics traditionally ascribed to women in our sample,” said the study's lead author, Dr. Louise Pilote, Director of the General Internal Medicine division at the MUHC and Professor of Medicine at McGill University. “For example, financial difficulties and/or the need to manage housework, child care, and work may represent a daily burden and chronic anxiety may result."
 
For now, the results from this study highlight an important message for prevention, providing support for doctors to consider more people than just biologically female patients to be at risk for anxiety-related cardiovascular problems.
 

Source: RI-MUHC
 
About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
JAN 04, 2020
Cardiology
JAN 04, 2020
New Protein Therapy Improves Heart Attack Survival Rates
Heart disease is the top killer in the Western world. This is partially because, if one manages to survive an initial he ...
JAN 09, 2020
Neuroscience
JAN 09, 2020
Increased Autism Risk for Children Born with Heart Disease
Children born with congenital heart disease (CHD) have a life expectancy comparable to that of the general population. H ...
JAN 15, 2020
Cardiology
JAN 15, 2020
Burnout May Cause Heart Problems
At least 2.7 million Americans are affected by the most common variety of irregular heartbeat, known as atrial fibrillat ...
JAN 29, 2020
Cardiology
JAN 29, 2020
Eating Eggs Everyday Not Linked to Heart Disease
The common controversy over whether eating eggs is bad for heart health may finally have been dissolved thanks to new fi ...
FEB 05, 2020
Cardiology
FEB 05, 2020
Protein-Rich Foods May Damage Heart Health
High-protein diets are becoming more and more popular as a method to both increase muscle mass and lose weight. Now howe ...
APR 23, 2020
Cardiology
APR 23, 2020
Arteries Respond in Different Ways in Females and Males
Exploring Arterial Smooth Muscle Kv7 Potassium Channel Function using Patch Clamp Electrophysiology and Pressure Myograp ...
Loading Comments...