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Heart Disease, Stroke Prevention Efforts Among Women

A group of female lawmakers -- including Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Reps. Barbara Cubin (R-Wyo.) and Lois Capps (D-Calif.) -- earlier this month introduced// legislation (S 573, HR 1014) that aims to improve heart disease education among women, bolster gender-specific research and increase women's access to heart disease screening, CQ HealthBeat reports. The measure, called the HEART for Women Act would require health information reported to FDA to specify gender, race and ethnicity (Kroepsch, CQ HealthBeat, 2/23).

In addition, the legislation would expand nationwide a CDC program called WISEWOMAN, which currently provides no-cost heart disease and stroke tests to low-income, uninsured women in 14 states. The measure also would authorize grants to be made to educate physicians about preventing, diagnosing and treating heart disease among women. "This legislation addresses the critical knowledge gap by ensuring that health care professionals are informed about the risks of cardiovascular disease in women, know how this disease affects women differently than men and are better equipped to diagnose heart disease in women," Capps said (Capps release, 2/13).

The bill also would require the HHS secretary each year to issue a report to Congress about findings and recommendations related to quality and access to care for women with cardiovascular disease (S 573 text, 2/26). "We must stop thinking of heart disease as a 'man's disease' and start insisting on improvements in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease among women," Stabenow said (Capps release, 2/13).

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