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The Paradocs Podcast with Eric Larson

The Paradocs is a fun and lively discussion with a couple of docs on the practice of medicine. Occasionally serious, usually lighthearted, and accidentally informative. A show for physicians to learn more about what is going on and a great place for them to direct their friends and family to better understand the challenges they face.

Jul 30, 2019

February marks the month designated by the American Heart Association as its "Go Red for Women" campaign to raise awareness of the real risk of heart disease in women. Too often, men are seen as the victims of heart attacks and people forget that women can suffer from heart disease as well. In fact, women die more from heart disease than men, right?
Well, if you followed the campaign from the AHA, that is the impression you would get, but that only paints part of the picture. My guest today, Dr. Anish Koka of the Accad & Koka Report, pointed out in an article recently that this propaganda may be misleading. It is true that more women die from heart disease than men but their deaths occur much later in life. In fact, they clearly outpace the death of men in the over 85 year old age bracket but only because there are so many more women left than men. When adjusted for the absolute numbers of men and women alive in their 80s, men still have a higher risk of death from heart disease than women.
The real question about all these conflated numbers and public service announcements is whether any of it really matters. Do clinicians actually listen? Do clinicians hear the ads and become more aware of the problem of heart disease? Well, according to Dr. Koka, residents, fellows, and medical students are influenced by these campaigns as well and adjust their treatment plans.
It is a dangerous world when we throw out our real life experiences to match data which may or may not be telling an accurate story. In the case of "Go Red for Women" it is important that clinicians and the general public understand where the real truth lies: women have lots of heart disease but not as early or as frequently as men. That doesn't mean we should ignore it or forget it but just that we need to take the incidence into our calculation about what treatment and testing options might be best for the patient.
  Dr. Koka is a cardiologist and the cohost of the Accad & Koka Report.


show notes

The Real Gender Gap in Heart Disease: Dr. Koka's article as it appeared in

Twittering for Anish Koka: @Anish_Koka

Episode 021: Dr. Koka on the dangers of using public reporting.

Episode 011: Dr. Accad (Dr. Koka's cohost) describes the dangers of treating populations and not individual patients.

Twitter Thread on Described in the Episode: This is the twitter thread I referred to in my show.

YouTube for Paradocs: Here you can watch the video of my late son singing his solo on the Paradocs YouTube page.

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