About The Heart Truth
About The Heart Truth

Fifteen-Year Trends in Awareness of Heart Disease in Women

A 2012 survey from the American Heart Association (AHA) shows that more women are getting the message that heart disease is the #1 killer of women. Designed to track trends in awareness, knowledge, and perceptions related to heart disease and stroke among women the latest findings show that overall awareness of cardiovascular disease as the leading cause of death has nearly doubled over the past decade. The survey showed that 56 percent of American women know that heart disease is the leading killer of women, up from 34 percent in 2000 and 46 percent in 2003. Although awareness has increased among African American and Hispanic women, these groups—who are at higher risk of heart disease than white women—continue to have lower rates of awareness.

Findings from the survey also show that women's knowledge about their personal risk of heart has also increased. In fact, more women demonstrated awareness of atypical signs of a heart attack, such as nausea, (18 percent) compared to 1997 (10 percent).

Despite the increased knowledge and awareness about heart disease among women, there remains a need for them to talk with their health care provider about heart disease. Less than half (48 percent) of the women who responded to this survey felt that they were well informed about heart disease; and 21 percent reported that their doctor had talked to them about heart disease. Hispanic women were less likely than White and African American women to feel that their health care provider is sensitive to their culture when making recommendations about their health, presenting a barrier for heart disease prevention.

The survey also emphasized several obstacles that continue to create confusion among women when dealing with strategies to prevent cardiovascular disease, including: the best eating plan for heart health, how to control weight, how stress/depression affects the heart, the role of aspirin, and the role of hormones and supplements in prevention.

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Last Updated: July 9, 2014

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