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

ness were 15 percent and 20 percent, respectively.

Other important findings from the new survey include:

  • Eighty-five percent of women said they had seen, heard or read about heart disease during the past year.
  • Only 53 percent of women said they would call 911 if they were having heart attack symptoms.
  • Just over half of women said the biggest barrier to taking preventive steps against heart disease were family and care-taking responsibilities.

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."

Both Mosca and Marcovitz said that experts have to find new ways to get the message of heart disease prevention out to more people. Mosca said that having women tell their stories to other women at places like community centers could be helpful. She said it's also important to have information available in Spanish. Marcovitz said that social networking sites may also prove useful for spreading heart health messages.

Both doctors said that if you have chest pain -- and it may not always feel like pain; it could be pressure or a squeezing sensation -- that doesn't go away after a few minutes, you need to call 911. Women also may have more unusual symptoms, such as feel
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