Heart disease is the number one killer among women. A new survey conducted by the Women's Heart Alliance has suggested that most women say they don't have a personal connection to cardiovascular disease.
The study found that those who know another woman with heart disease are 25% more likely to be concerned about it for themselves and 19% more likely to bring up heart health with their doctors.
‘Awareness of heart disease is crucial among women. Women who know another woman with heart disease are 25% more likely to be concerned about it for themselves and 19% more likely to bring up heart health with their doctors.’
Lead author C. Noel Bairey Merz said, "Since women who report knowing another woman with heart disease are more apt to express concern and importantly, bring up this issue with their doctor, awareness of heart disease is crucial. Yet, only 27% of women can name a woman in their lives with heart disease and only 11% can name a woman who has died from heart disease. Among those aged 25 to 49, about 23% know a woman with heart disease, compared to 37% of women aged 50 to 60."
The survey also found that healthcare providers more often focused on a woman's weight rather than other cardiovascular disease risk factors, compared to men who were more likely to be told their cholesterol or blood pressure is too high by their doctors. Bairey Merz said, "Women should be screened for heart disease, including finding out their atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) score - also called the 'A-risk score'. This figure uses your age, sex, race, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood pressure medication use, diabetes status and smoking status to get a 10-year cardiovascular disease risk and a lifetime risk score."
Bairey Merz advised women to talk to their doctor about heart disease. She said, "Every woman 40 and older needs to get their A-risk score. If you're under 40 you still need to know your blood pressure and cholesterol."
The research is presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2015.