Neither doctors nor women are on top of women’s heart health issues

What do you think is the greatest threat to a woman’s longevity — depression, heart attack or breast cancer? If you’re like 45 percent of women interviewed in a recent Women’s Heart Alliance survey, you don’t realize that the answer is heart attack. And that’s risky.

The survey found that 60 percent of female patients did not have their heart health assessed at their last doctor’s appointment. And while 74 percent of women in the survey had one or more risk factors for heart disease, only 16 percent of them had been told so by their doctor. Even more alarming, a companion survey of 200 doctors found that only 39 percent of primary care providers knew that heart disease is the top health concern for women. In addition, only 22 percent of primary care doctors and 42 percent of cardiologists said that they felt well-prepared to assess heart disease in women.

Both docs and women need to be aware of the importance of tracking a woman’s heart health throughout her life. After all, around 80 percent of heart disease is avoidable, and fully 25 percent of deaths from full-blown heart disease are, too.

Fortunately, every girl and woman can do a great deal to make sure her heart stays healthy. It starts with you, Mom, making sure your young girls and teens (and their brothers) are not overweight, get plenty of outdoor activity, eat a varied diet of fresh fruits and…

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