Join me in welcoming guest blogger, Carolyn Dean MD ND, medical doctor and naturopath, whose magnesium outreach has won her an award from the Heart Rhythm Society in the UK for “Outstanding Medical Contribution to Cardiac Rhythm Management-2012.” Dr. Dean is the author of 110 Kindle books and 33 health books covering a wide variety of topics, including Hormone Balance, IBS for Dummies, The Magnesium Miracle and Atrial Fibrillation: Remineralize Your Heart. Dr. Dean is on the Medical Advisory Board of the non-profit educational site – Nutritional Magnesium Association.
If you’d like to hear more about Dr. Dean, magnesium, and heart attacks in women, listen to the podcast from our recent interview from Wellness for the REAL World with Dr. Veronica on FOX the Jersey 920 AM radio. Or visit the links immediately following this article for Dr. Dean’s website and programs.
Heart Disease in Women
The CDC reports in their Morbidity and Mortality Weekly that heart disease has been the leading cause of death in the United States since 1921. Yet it’s taken nearly a century for the American Heart Association (founded in 1924) to Release Their First Scientific Statement on Acute MI in Women.
Researchers say that “Coronary angiography is used less often in women, largely because their risk is underestimated, yet women have significantly higher mortality rates than men regardless of age.” They say that the public and medical perception of heart attack is that it occurs mostly in middle-aged or elderly men. Doctors want to change that misperception so they can diagnose and treat women earlier. Coronary artery disease affects 6.6 million American women each year, but doctors say the disease “remains understudied, underdiagnosed, and undertreated” in this group. “More than 53,000 women die each year from an MI and approximately 262,000 are hospitalized for acute MI and/or unstable angina. In addition, 26% of women vs 19% of men die within the year following their first MI; 47% vs 36%, respectively, die within the 5 years after the event.”
Women’s Health Risks
According to the investigators, the literature shows that these women are more likely than men to have diabetes mellitus, heart failure (HF), hypertension, depression, and renal dysfunction and more commonly present with non-ST-segment elevation MI or coronary artery spasm. They also have more bleeding complications, longer hospitalizations, and higher in-hospital mortality after undergoing coronary revascularization.
“Investigators admit that the mechanisms for risk in young women remain unclear. For older women, it’s been suggested that increased endothelial dysfunction and lipid deposition caused by menopausal lack of estrogen could influence CHD risk. However, “studies evaluating exogenous estrogen hormone therapy for the primary prevention of CHD in postmenopausal women have been convincingly negative.”
Diagnosis is often impaired because instead of chest pain women experience tightness, pressure, or squeezing in the chest accompanied by nausea. The amount of arterial plaque is also different. In men, 76% of fatal AMIs were caused by plaque rupture vs 55% in women. And women often present with less severe artery blockages than men, which can mean misdiagnosis and ineffective treatment.
Bottom line is that doctors don’t know why woman have more heart attacks and more complications than men. So, of course, I look at all this through the lens of magnesium. We know that women require more magnesium than men. It’s probably related to our extra hormones and all those extra biochemical pathways that need more magnesium.
Magnesium Deficiency – Impact on Women’s Health
Investigators look at endothelial dysfunction and suggest an estrogen connection. I see the endothelium affected by lack of NO (nitric oxide) due to magnesium deficiency; mitochondrial dysfunction, due to magnesium deficiency; calcium triggering endothelium dysfunction due to magnesium deficiency. Looking at the complications that are higher in women – they are a complete list of magnesium deficiency symptoms: diabetes mellitus, heart failure (HF), hypertension, depression, and renal dysfunction and more commonly present with non-ST-segment elevation MI or coronary artery spasm. I also see the magnesium burn rate in women as higher than men. There is the likelihood, in my opinion, that women work harder, worry more and take more medications than men and burn off more magnesium.
Then I look at the fact that women suffer more adverse drug reactions than men. According to one study, female patients have a 1.5- to 1.7-fold greater risk of developing an ADR compared with male patients. Of course doctors also don’t know why this happens. This study noted that women are at increased risk of QT prolongation with certain anti-arrhythmic drugs compared with men. Again, they say the mechanisms are unknown. While the researchers speculate about the cause of these adverse events, I speculate that drug therapy in women who are already magnesium-depleted will lower their levels even more so.
It’s Up to You!
Magnesium deficiency causes muscles to go into spasm. If the heart muscle goes into spasm, that means angina or a heart attack. Magnesium deficiency is the first place doctors should look to solve the problem of the higher incidence of heart attacks in women. But, they won’t do that. We did not learn about the clinical, therapeutic application of magnesium in medical school and doctors probably never will. So, it’s up to you, the reader to do your homework and look for your own solutions. You can start by visiting my websites: DrCarolynDean and RnAReSet. I’ve been guiding people in the proper management of their magnesium deficiency conditions for many years.
Dr. Dean has a free online newsletter, a valuable online 2-year wellness program called Completement Now! and a 2-hour call-in Radio Show called Dr. Carolyn Dean Live at www.achieveradio.com Mondays at 4pm PST. Find out more at Dr. Dean’s Website (www.drcarolyndean.com) and learn about her life-giving Completement Formulas: RnA Drops, ReMag, ReMyte, ReAline and ReNew at (www.RnAReSet.com).