Local News

Survey: Most Women Want More Information From Doctors About Heart Disease

Posted March 28, 2003

— Many people do not realize that

heart disease

is the No. 1 killer among women.

One out of every two women will die from heart disease or stroke. When it comes to awareness and treatment, studies show some women feel their doctors could and should do more.

Gladys Lundy has had two open-heart surgeries, two strokes and three heart attacks.

"I went through three and a half years of in-house deep rehabilitation," she said.

Lundy said it all started one night in 1999 when she woke up and did not feel right.

"I did basically what a lot of women do. I ignored my symptoms," she said.

"All the data shows that we show up at the emergency rooms at least an hour later than men," said Dr. Paula Miller, a cardiologist at the University of North Carolina Hospitals.

That is only one problem surrounding women and heart disease. A recent survey found 52 percent of female heart patients were dissatisfied with some part of their health care.

Less than 35 percent recognized their symptoms of heart disease.

Fifty-seven percent of women reported problems with depression and anxiety.

"There are so many emotions that confront you when you realize you have heart disease," said Lundy.

She said doctors feel a need to do more to help their female patients.

"We're not small men. Our bodies are inherently different," said Lundy.

Miller agrees that physicians should take more time to educate women.

"We still have a long way to go," she said. "Teaching them the symptoms and signs and what to watch out for is a big part of what we need to do for women's care."

Miller also said the medical field needs to put equal emphasis on heart disease and breast cancer.

"We don't see a lot about heart disease and how it is the No. 1 killer of women," she said.

Lundy said she believes if she had known all the facts, the past four years might not have been such a struggle.

"But you turn all of that into something positive. You find a way to do the things you need to do," she said.

Miller said chest pressure is usually the first symptom of a heart attack, but not always. Other symptoms include shortness of breath, nausea, clamminess, and dizziness.

If you notice any of these symptoms, call 911 or go to an emergency room immediately.

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