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Senior Health: Women and Heart Disease

Aug 15, 2017 by Comfort Keepers Newark, DE

In various aspects of our healthcare system, sometimes it appears that women get the short end of the stick education and treatment-wise. From drug trials being focused on the average male body and access to much-needed female healthcare, multiple factors contribute to woman feeling negatively about going to see the doctor or even knowing when they should.

Now, another stigma has surfaced: women and cardiovascular disease, or CVD. Although this is the leading killer of women in the United States, most women don’t even realize this – or, are too embarrassed to deal with their CVD properly.

From a 2014 survey of 100 cardiologists, 200 physicians and approximately 1,000 non-physician women, the results showed that:

  • About 40% of the physicians ranked CVD in women as a lower risk than breast health or weight
  • Only 40% of cardiologists and 20% of physicians felt comfortable assessing the risk of CVD in their female patients
  • 45% of women have reported cancelling a doctor’s appointment because they were embarrassed by their weight
  • 25% of women actually said having CVD is “embarrassing”

What can we do to combat this stigmatization?

The two major components that need to be worked on are the stigma against overweight patients (particularly female patients), and more education about CVD to healthcare providers. An easy step to take to accomplish the latter component is for cardiologists and other physicians to actually carry out the risk assessments that the American Heart Association recommends.

As many as 45% of women don’t realize that CVD is the leading cause of death in American women. If you are concerned about you or your loved one’s risk of CVD, have an honest conversation with your physician or cardiologist about it.

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