Research can reduce heart disease deaths in women

What’s the greatest risk to your health? If you’re a woman in the United States, it’s heart disease. But most women don’t know that, as detailed in a recent NPR article.

In a survey of about 1,000 women, only half could accurately identify heart disease as the leading cause of death in women in the U.S. Many survey respondents believed that breast cancer was a greater risk to their health. But about 10 times more women die of heart disease than of breast cancer in the U.S. every year.

The reasons for the underdiagnoses and undertreatment of women are many, but they stem from the same issue: when heart disease is researched, men are usually the subjects. We know that heart disease affects and presents in women differently, but without sufficient research, physicians and patients are unable to effectively prevent, identify, diagnose and treat heart disease in women.

Researching the specific ways in which heart disease affects women could lead to more and earlier diagnoses, better treatment and higher survival rates. Even before that, if women are aware of their specific risk factors, heart disease could be prevented altogether. In the survey discussed above, nearly three-fourths of respondents reported at least one heart disease risk factor, but only 16 percent had discussed that risk factor with a doctor.

At the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation® (MHIF), we’re committed to improving the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease in women through research, outreach and education. One example of this is the Broadening the Role of OB-GYNs in Assessing Cardiovascular Health (BROACH) initiative. With BROACH, MHIF is working to educate young women and OB-GYN – often, the primary care providers for a large percentage of women – about recognizing, identifying and treating cardiovascular risk.

To raise funds for BROACH and our women’s health program, MHIF is hosting BROACH the Subject: An Evening with Cheryl Strayed on July 26, 2016.

The event will feature a panel discussion with local business leaders, a craft market, and a keynote presentation from bestselling author Cheryl Strayed on prioritizing heath in the face of personal adversity. It will be a fun and exciting night featuring and supporting female business owners and leaders, and supporting advances in women’s heart health. Learn more and purchase tickets here!