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Women's Heart Disease Awareness Still Lacking
Date:2/10/2010

More than 40 percent of women don't know it is leading killer, survey finds

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Despite public awareness campaigns, almost half of all American women still don't know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in women, new research finds.

Even more concerning, only slightly more than half of women would call for emergency help if they were having heart attack symptoms, according to the latest survey for the American Heart Association's Go Red For Women public awareness campaign.

"We've made a lot of progress since 1997 [when the Go Red campaign first began], but we still have a long way to go," said lead researcher Dr. Lori Mosca, director of preventive cardiology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.

For example, she said, "Only about half of women knew what heart attack symptoms are."

Results of the study are scheduled to be published in the March issue of Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

In 1997, when the survey was first conducted, just 30 percent of women realized that heart disease was the leading cause of death in women. In 2009, that number was 54 percent. However, that number is down slightly from 2006 when 57 percent of women said that heart disease was the biggest threat to their health.

Young women were more likely to believe that breast cancer was their biggest potential health threat. Thirty-four percent of women between the ages of 25 and 34 thought breast cancer was more of a threat than heart disease, compared to 22 percent of women over 65 who felt that way.

Racial disparities still exist, though the racial gap in awareness is narrowing, according to the survey. Just 43 percent of black women and 44 percent of Hispanic women correctly identified heart disease as the leading killer of women. However, those numbers were significantly increased from 1997, when the rates of aware
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