Women’s Heart Disease & Its Social Stigma

Because cardiovascular disease is foremost on the list of diseases that kill women in the United States, it seems logical that every woman should discuss with her doctor the likelihood of being diagnosed with heart disease. Surprisingly, the opposite is true and for a very unfortunate reason: many women are stigmatized with being told they are not eating the correct foods or exercising enough. For this reason, women are reticent to tell their doctors, or even their closest friends, if they experience any symptoms related to cardiovascular disease. Read below for more information on women’s health and how Medicomp’s cardiac event recorders can mean the difference between worry and relief.

The Survey

A survey conducted by Dr. C. Noel Bairey Merz included over 1,000 women who reported they were “…more likely to be told to lose weight than to check their blood pressure…”, even though cardiovascular risk factors do not include weight.

Almost half the respondents reported they canceled or postponed doctor appointments simply so they could lose weight before stepping on the scale in the examination room.

The Findings

The prevalence of women being valued for their appearance carries over into healthcare: physicians tend to focus on a patient’s weight more frequently when the patient is female, even when that patient has a normal body mass index.

Risk Factors

Although most respondents reported they had a physical within the last 12 months, they could not specifically recall a cardiac assessment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these results are discouraging since the majority of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease experienced no previous symptoms. Risk factors such as high blood pressure, elevated levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDL cholesterol), and smoking should be addressed at every check-up, especially considering half of all Americans are prone to one or more of these conditions. Women are traditionally examined for breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and any other reproductive issues without cardiovascular health being seriously considered.

Talk With Your Doctor

Talk to your doctor about any signs and symptoms you believe may be precursors to cardiovascular disease. If you believe you are experiencing any heart palpitations, shortness of breath, or other signs, call your physician immediately, and ask whether a cardiac event recorder will benefit you. Read more about cardiovascular disease, health, and fitness by reading our past blogs, and call the professionals at Medicomp at (800) 23-HEART (234-3255).

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