More Women Aware of Their Risk for Heart Disease

By Shelley Wood
Medscape Medical News

Feb. 20, 2013 -- More American women are aware of their risk for heart disease than ever before, but huge gaps in knowledge still remain.

A new survey shows that the number of women who know that heart disease is their leading cause of death has nearly doubled since 1997: from 30% in 1997 to 56% today.

Awareness has roughly doubled since 1997 among all of the racial groups, but remains far lower overall among African-American and Hispanic women.

"These data suggest that future educational efforts should be targeted to racial and ethnic minorities who have lower rates of awareness and higher rates of [death from heart disease] and risk factors," Lori Mosca, MD, of the Columbia University Medical Center in New York, and colleagues write in Circulation.

Other key observations include:

Younger women (25-34 years of age) had the lowest rate of awareness at 44%.

65% of women reported that they would call 911 if they had symptoms, up from 53% in 2009.

1 in 5 women surveyed online said their doctor had discussed their risk for heart disease at least once.

26% of women also reported having depression, a potential barrier to following a heart-healthy lifestyle.

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SOURCE: Mosca, L. Circulation, 2012. © 2013 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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