According to a University of Florida research, newly discovered genes may help explain why women have different heart disease symptoms than males, which frequently leads to major problems being misdiagnosed.
Many existing symptom profiles and lab tests for heart disease, according to University of Florida College of Nursing associate professor Jennifer Dungan, do not adequately represent recognised distinctions in women’s heart disease. This carelessness has resulted in wider disparities in health-care equity. “Because of this imbalance, women are more likely than males to report out-of-the-ordinary heart disease symptoms, receive delayed treatment for heart disease, and even suffer undiscovered heart attacks,” Dungan explained.
“For unknown reasons, women might suffer heart disease differently than males.” This can result in injustices for women, which must be addressed.”
According to Dungan, cardiac experts believe that some of the disparities in symptoms and outcomes between men and women may be attributable to hereditary variances. She has found a gene called RAP1GAP2 that she believes is to blame.
“RAP1GAP2 is a good candidate for sex-linked impacts on the outcomes of women’s heart disease,” Dungan added. “It is assumed that certain DNA markers in this gene regulate the function of platelets, which are colourless blood cells that assist our blood clot.” This increases the chance of a heart attack.
An hyperactive gene may cause too many platelets to react to the clot, obstructing blood and oxygen flow to the heart muscle and leading to a heart attack.”
She believes that because RAP1GAP2 was not connected to worse cardiac outcomes in males in her team’s study, this gene may act differently in women. Her team includes experts from the University of Florida’s faculties of Medicine, Pharmacy, Public Health, and Health Professions. Their research was just published in the American Heart Journal Plus.
Even little is known about such distinctions between races and ethnicities. Due to a variety of reasons, including genetics, Dungan feels that black and Hispanic women are at an even higher risk of poor heart disease outcomes.
Unfortunately, the traditional methods of studying racial and ethnic groupings provide irrelevant data, according to Dungan.
“The purpose is not to discover biological distinctions between human groupings. Instead, we want to uncover the DNA markers that are most precisely associated to heart disease in all women “She stated. “And in order to do so, we must also examine genetic variance within women.”
Dungan’s newest project, supported by a two-year grant from the National Institute on Aging, a division of the National Institutes of Health, aims to find the specific RAP1GAP2 gene markers that most strongly correlate with disease symptoms, heart attacks, and death in women of different racial and ethnic groups.
Dungan and her colleagues will utilise statistical genetics approaches to determine whether there is a relationship between particular DNA markers on RAP1GAP2 and heart disease using health data from 17,000 postmenopausal women. Her team will also accommodate for inherent variety in our genetic code by using genetic heritage markers rather than contrived racial divisions.
According to Dungan, this will ensure that her team discovers DNA markers that represent the risk of heart disease in all women, not just select populations.
“At the conclusion of the trial,” she added, “if RAP1GAP2 gene markers properly represent women’s heart symptoms and forecast their chance of a future heart attack, stroke, or death, then those gene markers might help us be more confident in their diagnosis and future prognosis.” “More precise biomarkers for women would save lives while also improving health equity for all women.”