Heart disease is often considered a “male” health issue, but women are struck down by cardiovascular problems just as often as men. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer of women over age 25–more than the next five causes of death, or all forms of cancer, combined. Men are at greater risk for developing heart disease, but women are more likely to die from it.
Heart disease presents differently in women than it does in men. In addition to or instead of chest pain, female patients may experience neck pain, difficulty breathing, extreme fatigue, and nausea or vomiting. Female patients may attribute their symptoms to stress or indigestion and put off going to the hospital, increasing the risk of death. The cause of the disease may also differ. Low levels of the hormone progesterone are thought to play a role in the development of cardiovascular disease. Women’s risk of developing heart disease increases between the ages of 40 to 65, the time period when most women undergo menopause.
Dimera Incorporated of Portland, Oregon, has taken these considerations into mind when developing its pipeline of cardiovascular drugs for women. The company is formulating a progesterone skin cream to improve cardiovascular function and heart health. A small clinical study yielded promising results, and the company seeks to start a larger clinical trial. In August, Dimera received a patent for its system to treat the symptoms of peripheral arterial disease, a circulatory condition that affects the extremities.
In this video, Kent Hermsmeyer, President and CEO of Dimera, discusses his company at the 2010 OneMedForum in San Francisco.
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