Gender Linked To Health-Related Quality of Life in Young Adults with Heart Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sylvie S.L. Leung Yinko, RD MSc Epidemiology ’14
Division of Clinical Epidemiology
Research Institute of McGill University Health Centre (RI MUHC)
Montreal (QC) H3A 1A1

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: Our study indicates that young female patients with premature acute coronary syndrome (ACS) have lower health-related quality of life (HRQL) than their male counterparts. Whereas “sex” refers to whether an individual is biologically male or female, “gender” is a more complex term that refers to social norms, roles, and expectations that are traditionally ascribed to males and females in a society. We found that gender, rather than sex, may larger explain the differences in health-related quality of life between men and women. Particularly, higher femininity score, lower social support and greater housework responsibilities appear to be important gender-related factors linked with poorer HRQL post-ACS.

Medical Research: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Answer: We observed an interaction between sex and social support; females with high social support have significantly better physical status (as measured by the Seattle Angina Questionnaire), compared to females with low social support. Conversely, there was no difference in physical status between males with high versus low social support.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Answer: Gender is a key determinant of health-related quality of life. Although gender-related factors may not be as easily assessed as sex, we would recommend that clinicians look at such factors when assessing and treating young patients with cardiovascular burden, in order to provide more targeted and effective treatment and recovery. Patients should also be made aware that such gender-related factors can greatly impact HRQL and influence their well-being.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Answer: Future research should aim to investigate post-ACS interventions which would address gender-related factors, and incorporate a gender- and sex-based approach, as a means to improve health-related quality of life .

Citation:
Health‐Related Quality of Life in Premature Acute Coronary Syndrome: Does Patient Sex or Gender Really Matter?Sylvie S. L. Leung Yinko,Roxanne Pelletier,Hassan Behlouli, Colleen M. Norris,Karin H. Humphries,Louise Pilote,and the GENESIS‐PRAXY investigators

J Am Heart Assoc. 2014;3:e000901, originally published July 28, 2014, doi:10.1161/JAHA.114.000901

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