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Fewer Women Aware of Heart Disease as Leading Cause of Death

Among U.S. women, decrease in awareness seen for all races/ethnicities, all ages except ≥65 years

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 23, 2020 (HealthDay News) — From 2009 to 2019, there was a decrease in awareness among U.S. women that heart disease is the leading cause of death (LCOD) among women, according to a special report from the American Heart Association, published online Sept. 21 in Circulation.

Mary Cushman, M.D., from the University of Vermont in Burlington, and colleagues surveyed U.S. women (≥25 years of age) in January 2009 and January 2019 to examine longitudinal trends in awareness of cardiovascular disease as the LCOD among women.

The researchers found that awareness of heart disease as the LCOD was 65 percent in 2009 and decreased to 44 percent in 2019. Awareness was greater with older age and increasing education in 2019 and was lower for non-White women and those with hypertension. The decline in awareness was seen for all races/ethnicities and ages, except for women aged ≥65 years. The greatest declines were seen among Hispanic women, non-Hispanic Black women, and 25- to 34-year-olds (odds ratios of awareness comparing 2019 with 2009: 0.14, 0.31, and 0.19, respectively). There was also a decline in awareness of heart attack symptoms.

“This signals an urgent call for organizations ranging from public health, government, and health care professionals, to community organizations such as churches and employers, to take on the challenge with full gusto to better inform women of their risk for heart disease,” Cushman said in a statement.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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