Los Angeles,
13:25 PM

Today Show: Gender Bias in Healthcare

Noel Bairey Merz, MD, director of the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center in the Smidt Heart Institute, recently sat down with NBC News special anchor Maria Shriver to discuss whether there is a gender bias in healthcare that harms women.

“This is the ‘MeToo’ of healthcare,” Bairey Merz told Shriver in a detailed interview that aired on the Today Show.

A recent study showed that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, but all too often, women are not properly screened for heart disease when they go for a primary care check-up, Bairey Merz told Shriver.

“Young women were more likely to be told to lose weight, where the young men who were actually more overweight were more likely to be put on effective preventive therapy,” Bairey Merz said.

Even though women are more likely than men to die in the year following a heart attack, all too often, women aren’t prescribed medication that could lower their risk of a heart attack, Bairey Merz said. Instead, they are likely to be instructed by their physicians to lose weight.

“People are always sort of judging women according to their weight," Bairey Merz told the Today Show. “The irony, of course, is that weight loss doesn’t reduce cardiovascular disease.”

So what can a woman do to make sure she gets proper medical care? Shriver’s report included these expert tips:

  • Ask Questions – When prescribed medication, women should ask if there are side effects specific to women and if the drug was tested on women.
  • Listen to Your Gut – If a woman feels that a doctor isn’t taking her symptoms seriously, look for a second – or even a third – opinion.

Click here to access the complete Today Show report.