If heart health is not on your list of things to explore with your health care provider (HCP) during your annual wellness appointment, basically you are not alone on this and secondly you need to add it to your list next on your next appointment. According to a new HealthyWomen survey, about 1,664 women, many-nearly half of our respondents (43%)-rarely or never discuss heart health with their health care provider (HCP).
But do not confuse women’s lack of communication for lack of concern. The opposite is true of that. More than half of the respondents (58%) said they were either somewhat or very concerned about their heart health. Women should be concerned about their heart health. Heart disease is the number one killer of women, with more than half a million females living every year, according to the American Heart Association. So why don’t women talk to their HCPs about heart health? Fifty-four percent of our survey respondents said they don’t think they need it, and 35 percent said they don’t because their HCPs never did it. This is surprising given that one third of our respondents have high blood pressure and/or cholesterol, which increases the risk of heart disease. If you did not know that cholesterol is a risk factor, you may also be unaware of other risk factors or symptoms of heart disease and, in this case, what you do not know can hurt you. For example, did you know that pain in the neck or jaw is a symptom of a heart attack?
How about pain in the back or nausea? Sure, these are all symptoms of a heart attack, and only about half of our respondents correctly identified them. What we find from our study is that most people are making an effort to make healthy choices in their lives. Sixty-four per cent of respondents said that they sometimes prepare heart-healthy meals, 84 per cent said they never smoke, and 40 per cent said they do light work or exercise for at least 30 minutes two to four days a week.
While lifestyle choices are important, they are not the only factor in your risk of heart disease. Among other factors that increase your risk of heart disease, the majority of women (54%) are affected by hormonal changes. For better understanding on how hormonal changes affect the heart during your life, take a close look at the infographic image beneath.
No matter your age or life stage, add heart health to your HCP convo list now. Not sure how to start the conversation?