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About The Heart Truth
About The Heart Truth

Only One In Three Women Believe They Are Personally At Risk For Heart Disease

A Lifetime Women’s Pulse Poll (released February 1, 2006), conducted in conjunction with leading national health experts and organizations, reveals that women are increasingly aware of the dangers of heart disease and recognize that it is the #1 killer of women, but few acknowledge their personal risk and most report that dialogue is lacking between women and their health care providers on this critical subject. The poll shows a large window of opportunity to increase awareness of the importance of reducing risk factors of heart disease, promote action that will significantly improve women’s heart health and encourage conversation between patients and health care professionals.

KEY FINDINGS

Women are aware of the dangers of heart disease:

•43% correctly state that women are more likely than men to die from heart disease.

•71% believe that women exhibit different heart disease symptoms than men.

Although the odds are against them, few acknowledge their personal risk for heart disease:

Nearly nine in ten women (84%) admitted to having one or more risk factors for heart disease (42% have three or more risk factors), yet only approximately one in three (31%) feel that they are personally at risk for heart disease.

•Women from lower income households (under $25,000) are likely to report more risk factors than women from upper income households (over $75,000)-2.9 versus 1.5 risk factors on average. But, having more risk factors did not translate into greater personal awareness of risk.

Women are being screened, but NOT talking to their health care providers about risks:

80% of women said they’ve been screened for heart disease (by having cholesterol and/or blood pressure checked) at least once in the past year.

•Of those who were not screened in the past year, “lack of health insurance” (15%) and “lack of time” (12%) were the most common reasons cited.

•Only 30% reported their health care provider initiated a conversation with them about their risk of heart disease.

•Only 26% said THEY initiated a conversation with their health care provider about their risk of heart disease.

•Among women 18-34, only 16% have initiated a conversation with their health care provider and only 16% said their provider initiated a conversation with them about their risk of heart disease.

Personal knowledge is high and motivates many to act:

•68% of women said that they know someone who suffers from or has died from heart-related illness.

•55% of those women are inspired to get more information or take action.

Additionally, 39% of women recognize the “Red Dress” as the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) created and launched the Red Dress as the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness.

The survey was released to coincide with National Wear Red Day®, a day of heart health awareness for women across the country, and to launch Lifetime Television’s public education initiative, “Don’t Skip a Beat,” which is a part of the network’s new over-arching women’s health and well-being campaign “Our Lifetime Commitment: Living Healthy.”

Leading experts and organizations on women and heart disease helped inform the poll’s questions, and identified important trends to focus on. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s The Heart Truth® campaign, Sister to Sister: Everyone Has a Heart Foundation and WomenHeart: the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease all offered valuable insights to help measure awareness and the depth of knowledge that women have of heart disease and its risk factors.

Meredith Wagner, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs, Lifetime Entertainment Services, said, “We hope this poll, as well as our campaign, will help further drive the message that women need to become even more involved in their heart health.”

"It's heartening to see that The Heart Truth and its partners are succeeding in helping more and more women learn about their #1 killer and understand their own personal risk," said Dr. Elizabeth Nabel, Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health. "But we still have more to do to alert women to the seriousness of heart disease, especially to the dangers of having multiple risk factors."

“Lifetime and Sister to Sister’s partnership was formed with the purpose of making a significant difference in women’s lives by helping them take control of their heart health. Women will not only learn of their own risk factors but, more importantly, they will be able to take appropriate action,” said Irene Pollin,Founder andPresident of Sister to Sister: Everyone Has a Heart Foundation.

Nancy Loving, Executive Director, WomenHeart, said, “These polling results demonstrate great progress: that women are much more aware of and taking heart disease more personally. However, they also underscore the fact that we are doing a poor job reaching women living in low-income communities, where heart disease is most severe and prevalent. We all need to re-focus our efforts to better serve these women."

Lifetime Women’s Pulse Poll Methodology:
Polling was conducted by International Communications Research (ICR). A nationally representative sample of 508 women age 18+ was contacted via telephone from January 13th-17th, 2006. Complete poll results available upon request.

Lifetime Entertainment Services:
LIFETIME is the leader in women's television and one of the top-rated basic cable television networks. A diverse, multi-media company, LIFETIME is committed to offering the highest quality entertainment and information programming, and advocating a wide range of issues affecting women and their families. LIFETIME Television, Lifetime Movie Network, Lifetime Real Women, Lifetime Home Entertainment and Lifetime Online are part of LIFETIME Entertainment Services, a 50/50 joint venture of The Hearst Corporation and The Walt Disney Company.

The Heart Truth is a national awareness campaign for women about heart disease and is sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in partnership with: Office on Women's Health, HHS; WomenHeart: the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease; American Heart Association; and other organizations committed to the health and well-being of women. NHLBI created and launchedthe Red Dress as the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness. Coupled with the slogan "Heart Disease Doesn't Care What You Wear—It's the #1 Killer of Women,®" The Heart Truth and its Red Dress leverages a powerful influence in women's lives—fashion—to deliver a very serious and urgent wakeup call to American women. NHLBI continues to lead the nation in a landmark heart health awareness movement that is being embraced by millions, and its Red Dress symbol is fast becoming one of the most recognizable health symbols in the United States. For more information, please visit www.hearttruth.gov.

Sister to Sister is a 501(c)(3) foundation that is dedicated solely to bringing free heart disease screenings and “heart healthy” information and support to women to prevent heart disease. For more information, please visit www.womansheartday.org.

WomenHeart: the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease is the nation’s only patient advocacy organization servicing the 8,000,000 American women living with heart disease. It aims to improve their quality of life and healthcare through education, support and advocacy. Founded in 1998, WomenHeart is a public charity headquartered in Washington, DC. Visit online at www.womenheart.org.

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Last Updated: May 1, 2012

The Heart Truth, its logo, The Red Dress, and Heart Disease Doesn't Care What You Wear—It's the #1 Killer of Women are registered trademarks of HHS.
Red Dress and Red Dress Collection are service marks of HHS.
National Wear Red Day is a registered trademark of HHS and AHA.

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