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Survey Finds Women are not Personally Connected to Heart Disease

Update Date: Nov 09, 2015 02:12 PM EST
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Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women living in America and yet a new survey found that women, in particular, tend not to have a personal connection to the disease.

For the Women's Heart Alliance survey, the researchers reached 1,011 women between 25 and 60-years-old. They found that only 27 percent of the women personally knew someone with heart disease. 11 percent of them were able name someone they knew of who died from heart disease.

The researchers noted that the older the respondents were, the more likely they were to know someone or know of someone with heart disease. The rates were 37 percent in women aged 50 to 60 and 23 percent in women aged 25 to 49.

The researchers found that knowing someone with heart disease can be beneficial. Women who knew someone with heart disease were 25 percent more likely to worry about the disease. 19 percent of them were more likely to discuss their heart disease risk with their doctors.

Aside from heart disease association, the survey also found that doctors appeared to be more concerned about discussing weight with their female patients than heart disease risk. Even though weight is a heart disease risk factor, there are several other factors, such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels that should also be discussed thoroughly.

"We are stalled on women's awareness of heart disease, partly because women say they put off going to the doctor until they've lost a few pounds. This is clearly a gendered issue," study author Dr. C. Noel Bairey Merz, director of the Barbra Streisand Women's Heart Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said reported by HealthDay via Philly.com. "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."

The researchers stressed the importance for women to understand their heart disease risk especially since one in three women will die from heart disease every year in the U.S.

The research was presented at the American Heart Association annual meeting in Orlando, Florida.

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