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Home » 1 Simple Question That Could Improve Women’s Health: Meryam Sugulle (Transcript)

1 Simple Question That Could Improve Women’s Health: Meryam Sugulle (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript of obstetrician Meryam Sugulle’s talk titled “1 Simple Question That Could Improve Women’s Health” at TED 2024 conference.

Listen to the audio version here:

TRANSCRIPT:

How would you react if I told you that we have an underused screening tool that has the potential to improve women’s health substantially? And that this tool only consists of one simple question. Have you had any pregnancy complications? With that simple question, we could identify women at increased risk for cardiovascular disease later in their lives.

That means diseases involving the heart, the brain and the blood vessels, like heart attack, heart failure, stroke and high blood pressure. By asking that simple question, we could seek out the women who could benefit from general health screening already at a younger age. That means checkups of blood pressure, body weight and blood sugar. Based on the results, we could offer personalized lifestyle advice and suggest preventive measures.

Importance of Cardiovascular Health

Why? For this is a fact: cardiovascular disease is a major cause of early death, apart from cancer, not only for men, but also for women. I hope that all of you now got very curious about what on Earth nine months of pregnancy have to do with older women getting heart attacks and strokes.

Pregnancy is something younger people do, you might think, even though I would argue that 50 is the new 30. Pregnancy is often described by a well-used quote as a “stress test for life.” A woman’s health gets tested by being pregnant. Will she tolerate pregnancy and all the involved physiological changes well, or will there be any complications?

The Placenta

The most important organ for pregnancy is the one that was once attached to the center of your belly, where your belly button is. We all have a belly button, regardless of gender. You and I, King Charles, the Pope, Beyoncé. And where it is, we were all once connected via a lifeline, the umbilical cord, to the most important organ in both our and our mother’s life. You and I, we are all here thanks to our placenta.

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