The famed actress, singer, director and activist met Bairey Merz a few years ago and was shocked to learn, as she has said publicly, that “Women around the world are dying in alarming numbers from an epidemic of heart disease. We can no longer afford the misconception that heart disease is mostly a man’s disease.”
After supporting a regenerative medicine research fund in 2007, then underwriting The Barbra Streisand Women’s Cardiovascular Research and Education Program in 2008, Streisand in 2011 received the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Humanitarian Award for her efforts on behalf of women’s heart health and her many other philanthropic activities.
The support and attention that Streisand can bring to gender differences in cardiac research and care — as she did, for example, by hosting other notables such as former President Clinton at her home — is laudable and timely.
Important research has been under way for roughly a decade into gender differences in heart disease. But there’s a significant gap to be made up in our understanding and therapies in this area because so many studies were conducted only on men and many therapies were aimed solely at them; many clinical trials of various heart drugs lacked adequate representation of women to see how gender differences might affect the response to medications.
Heart disease is the nation’s No. 1 killer of both and women. It can present warning signs so different in the sexes that heart disease in women may be misdiagnosed or missed entirely. The number of deaths from ischemic heart disease actually is higher in women than in men.
The happy healthcare host, Mr. Divabetic stops by the 66th Annual Tony® Awards at the Beacon Theater in New York to talk about divas, dazzle and diabetes.