In a phone survey of 1,000 women released yesterday, the American Heart Association (AHA) said only 8% view heart disease and stroke as their biggest health threat, despite the fact women are twice as likely to die from heart disease than from all types of cancer combined.
Dr. Martha Hill, president of the AHA, said that women tend to seek reproductive rather than comprehensive medical care, and believe only older women suffer from heart disease. The AHA says in 1995, 505,440 women died from cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
To counter women’s lack of knowledge about their heart disease risk and to encourage preventative measures, the AHA has started a national campaign called “Each One, Reach One!” By calling their toll-free number (1-888-MY HEART), callers can get an informational brochure and a phone card that will allow them to call three other women for 10 minutes to tell them about the program. AHA chapters nationwide also will be sponsoring activities and information campaigns.
To help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, women should exercise, stop smoking, keep at a healthy weight, get their blood cholesterol levels checked regularly. Estrogen therapy can also be considered.