Women And Their Doctors Don't Discuss Heart Disease, But They Need To
Heart disease is a very popular topic in the medical world, and for good reason. Cardiovascular disease is the cause of 400,000 deaths every year—taking more lives than all types of cancer combined.
It is also known as a silent killer among women, and a recent survey conducted by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology reveals that not many women—or their doctors—are talking about this life-threatening health issue.
Approximately 45% of the women who completed the survey were unaware of the danger of heart disease. Despite these startling results, heart disease continues to kill one woman every 80 seconds, according to cardiologist Dr. Tara Narula.
Women don't believe this disease is a real threat due to a number of factors, such as being in shape, too young, or not knowing anyone affected by the disease personally. An alarming 23% of women who took the survey admitted they are too young to worry about this possibly fatal health condition.
Another 71% of women don't even bring heart disease up in conversation with their doctor during a routine visit. It turns out that this can lead to serious problems down the road, since heart attack symptoms may appear differently in women than in men.
Women may simply brush off nausea, jaw pain, and anxiety as nothing more than stress, but these symptoms can actually signal a heart attack. A significant number of women who participated in the survey aimed to lose weight before even thinking about scheduling an appointment—and 45% of survey takers delay visiting their primary care doctor to shed some pounds.
Doctors prioritize talking to women about weight issues and breast health before the topic of heart health ever comes into play. It's vital, though, for women to receive heart screenings at every visit. A patient may be nervous or ashamed to bring up the possibility of a heart issue, so a doctor stepping in is crucial.
It's time to get the conversation about heart health started. Heart disease is preventable, and an open line of communication between women and their doctors can help them keep their heart health on track.