21 Feb Are Women Aware of the Perils of Heart Disease?
The number of women aware that heart disease is the leading cause of death has nearly doubled in the last 15 years, but that knowledge still lags in minorities and younger women, according to a study.
Researchers comparing women’s views about heart disease in 1997 and today found that in 2012, 56% of women identified heart disease as the leading cause of death, up from 30% in 1997. Back then, women were more likely to cite cancer than heart disease (35% vs. 30%) as the leading killer; in 2012, only 24% cited cancer.
(In 2009, according to the the CDC, heart disease was the cause in 24% of women’s deaths, followed by cancer in 22.2% of cases.) In 2012, 36% of black women and 34% of Hispanic women identified heart disease as the top killer. Those awareness levels were the same as white women had in ’97 (33%). Women ages 25 to 34 had the lowest awareness rate of any age group, 44%. The study, scheduled for publication in Circulation, an American Heart Association journal, showed barriers and motivators to engage in a heart healthy lifestyle are different for younger women, who also said their physicians were less likely to talk to them about heart disease.
“This is a missed opportunity,” said Lori Mosca, MD, PhD, MPH, the study’s lead author and chair of an American Heart Association committee that produced the report, said in a news release. “Habits established in younger women can have lifelong rewards.
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