40% of Women Still Unaware of Dangers of Heart Disease

This from Health Day – Almost half of all American women still don’t know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in women. Only slightly more than half would call for emergency help if they were having heart attack symptoms, according to the latest survey for the American Heart Association.

In 1997, 30 percent of women realized that heart disease was the leading cause of death in women. In 2009, that number was 54 percent down slightly from 57 percent in 2006.

Young women were more likely to believe that breast cancer was their biggest potential health threat.

Women are taking important preventive steps such as seeing their doctors and having their blood pressure checked. However, many women are relying on unproven strategies to prevent heart disease, as well. For example, 82 percent said they believed that fish oil would help them prevent heart disease, and 29 percent said aromatherapy could be helpful, according to the survey.

“Although there may be some benefit to alternative and complementary therapies, they pale in comparison to turning off the TV and going out for a walk,” said Dr. Pamela Marcovitz, medical director of the Ministrelli Women’s Heart Center at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich. “When people exercise even moderately most days of the week, they’re incredibly more likely to be healthier and live longer.”

Two comments – first this again shows why the “Let’s Move” campaign of Mrs. Obama needs to be heeded by adults not just children. Second, the breast cancer initiative has simply drawn more publicity so it is no wonder women think that is there biggest threat. Thank the Komen Foundation for that. The Heart Association needs to put faces and stories to the disease and they need one big catalyst that can boost concern about this disease to the forefront.

The sad part is that there are steps you can take to minimize your risk of heart disease. I think the breast cancer movement has benefited by showing the steps people can take around early detection. And sadly because many women die much too young from breast cancer, there are more compelling stories to tell. Don’t let heart disease creep up on you. Educate yourself.