Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Articles and the Scare Factor

Otherwise known as, get your facts straight before you publish.

Also known as, stop releasing studies prematurely and scaring the crap out of people.

Also also known as get the facts straight and use it as a moment to educate, instead of a moment to induce hysteria.

I saw this article a while ago and kept meaning to post about it, but you know how that goes out here in the land of no-longer-trying-to-conceive. However, as a babylost mamma, I felt my need to call this out: http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/content/healthday/646807.html

The headline reads "Miscarriages May Increase Heart Attack Risk"... so, talons out and sharpened. Okay, so I am by no means a medical expert, but I have had three, read 'em three, miscarriages. I have been through hell and back, I don't need some article to come along and tell me that means I could die. Seriously.

The article starts by saying that women with recurrent miscarriages (ahem, like me) are at greater risk of heart attack.

Here's how their stats break down:
Miscarriage increased risk of heart attack by 40%
More than 2 by 4Xs
More than 3 by 9Xs
Stillbirth increased the risk by 3.5Xs

It also mentioned that women with miscarriage history tend to weigh more. Once they factored in lifestyle factors the risk dropped a lot, but was still higher than women who haven't.

What is not mentioned is about the causes of miscarriage and stillbirth. For example, many of them are caused by undiagnosed clotting disorders. Hmm, could clotting disorders or the like have any effect on your cardiovascular system? Could that possible raise your risk of heart attack or stroke? What about the psychological aspect, depression and attitude towards life after the miscarriage or stillbirth. Yes, some of us do gain weight and become less active, it's called depression. I know that for me, the depression and the grief were so heavy I couldn't get off the couch for a very long time. Once the grief became manageable, the depression subsided... but it was really hard and it did take a toll on me.

What I'm saying is, maybe they could have mentioned these things and how they could contribute to heart attack and stroke. They could have taken a moment to address the underlying causes and how they could affect things (and not the miscarriages itself, that's a correlation, not a cause if you ask me). They could have addressed how to treat the issues, or signs of depression. This was a perfect moment to educate the public, and what did they do... try to scare you. And on such a sensitive topic too.

Personally, I would really have appreciated if they had waited to release this study. Or at least, vetted it out more before release. Now, maybe I'm looking at this all wrong, and like I said I am no expert, but as a babylost mamma this just bothered me.

What do you think of this article? Am I being overly critical here?


loribeth said...

Nope, I think your analysis is right on the money! Stillbirth & miscarriage themselves do not "cause" heart attacks. Argh.

Celia said...

I do not trust American news and have not for years. They are lazy and only after soundbites. I am annoyed but not surprised.

Kristin said...

That article raised my hackles too. Pissed me off to a whole new level. I really hate half-assed reporting.

Melis.sa said...

I think you hit the nail on the head. That article is fucking ridiculous!

Mrs Bishop said...

I don't think you're being overly critical. Sounds like whoever wrote it needed to get their facts straight.

Unknown said...

This GUY is a DB. You should write the editor saying such.

Camel said...

No, u'r not overly critical. It's the truth, most have underlying problems with clotting and fibrin disorders which does put you at a huge risk for heart attack and strokes. What crap that they didn't use that as a chance to educate more people. Blah....and I've had 5 miscarriages.....death is coming soon, lol.