High cholesterol, diabetes and obesity can all lead to heart disease and stroke. But most American women don't know if they're at risk, a new poll finds.
Six in 10 women are unaware of their cholesterol numbers, blood sugar levels or body mass index, according to an online poll commissioned by CVS Health. Heart disease ranked third as the greatest health problem facing U.S. women, with mental health No. 1 and cancer No. 2.
The survey was conducted in January among 1,141 adult women who were asked about their heart health and perceptions of illnesses affecting U.S. women.
Nearly all women surveyed—92 percent—said they consider heart-related conditions a serious issue, and more than a third—37 percent—say they have a heart-related condition, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, or a history of stroke.
Given the results of the survey, "we encourage more women to talk with their health care providers or pharmacists about their risks for heart disease and how to take actions now that will minimize future risk," said Dr. Troyen A. Brennan, chief medical officer of CVS Health.
There was little awareness about the role pharmacists can play in health care, the poll found.
Only 15 percent of women said they have asked their pharmacist questions about heart health. Even among those who take medications for heart conditions, just 36 percent have talked with their pharmacists about the medicines they take. But overall, for those who did ask questions, 94 percent found pharmacists helpful.
Although women today want to learn more about keeping their heart healthy than they did in past decades, "there is still room for significant improvement in awareness," said Dr. Sharon C. Reimold, a cardiologist at UT Southwestern in Dallas.
"We need to understand more about the attitudes of women toward heart health so they can be proactive in addressing their own personal risks as well as those of their families," she said.
For American Heart Month, MinuteClinic, the retail medical clinic of CVS Health, will offer screenings at no cost for blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and body mass index every Wednesday in February at locations nationwide.
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