February 1, 2005
By Michelle Franzen
New York-- February is American heart month. Half a million women die of heart disease each year, making it the leading cause of death for women in this country. Experts at an American Heart Association news conference say a focus on detection and education by both doctor and patient is key to battling the disease.
Heart disease has long been has been the number one killer of women in America. But since 1984, more women die each year of heart disease than men.
New studies published in the Journal of the American Heart Association find many of the things that can help prevent and treat heart disease in women are not being done.
"In our survey, only about one in five physicians knew that more women die of heart disease than men," said Dr. Lori Mosca, Director Of Preventative Cardiology, and New York Presbyterian Hospital.
One study tracked nearly 9,000 high-risk women. It found two-thirds of the women who were candidates for cholesterol lowering drugs did not receive them.
"While we do see some women getting therapy, we have a long way to go," Mosca said.
Another study found women are less likely than men to be identified as at-risk or referred for diagnostic tests. "Treatment often did differ between men and women and what really drove the treatment decisions was the physician assigning a level of risk to the patient," Mosca said.
It is evidence that the battle against the leading killer of American women involves more than just diet and exercise. Another study found women who have chronic anxiety or have more fearful attitudes about life in general might be at a higher risk of having a fatal heart attack.
For more information you can log on to: www.americanheart.org
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