New national survey reveals women are unaware of Heart Disease treatment options

Awareness Gap Greatest in Minority Groups

MIAMI – A new survey finds that women are often unaware and ill informed of what to do after they or a loved one has been diagnosed with heart disease.

Findings show that while a majority of women over 35 (73 percent) believe that they know how to prevent the deadly disease, only slightly more than half (55 percent) feel they understand how to treat the condition.

Even more alarming is that the survey finds Hispanic and African American women — both of whom are considered high-risk groups for heart disease — are more than twice as likely than Caucasian women to say they did not know any treatments for the disease at all.

The survey was conducted by the “Healthy From The Heart” campaign, sponsored by Cordis Corporation, the medical device company that develops the CYPHER(R) Sirolimus-eluting Coronary Stent, and the National Women’s Health Resource Center (NWHRC).

The campaign, designed to encourage women to learn more about coronary artery disease treatment options, is launching with the help of Academy Award-winning actress Rita Moreno. Women can take the first step to learn about treatment options by logging on to and downloading an educational brochure at the start of 2006. The Healthy From The Heart bilingual brochure will also be made available in hospitals nationwide.

“Being diagnosed with coronary artery disease can be a frightening experience, wrought with complex medical terms and overwhelming amounts of information. The Healthy From The Heart campaign will empower women to face heart disease with knowledge instead of fear, and help them realize that there are treatment options available that can help them lead active lives well intotheir later years,” says Ms. Moreno.

Heart disease affects over eight million women in the United States, killing 500,000 each year. In fact, more women than men have died of heart disease since 1984. African American and Hispanic women are at particularly high risk for the disease. According to recent studies, African American women are 29 percent more likely to die of the disease than Caucasian women.

Furthermore, almost one-third of deaths among Hispanic women can be attributed to the condition. In recent years, campaigns conducted by the American Heart Association and The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute have heightened heart disease awareness, but have focused on prevention and not treatment.

“Women in the U.S. are finally understanding that heart disease does not discriminate, affecting both men and women, all age groups and all races. However, we are learning that many women are still unfamiliar with treatment options and are not as informed as they should be given the prevalence of this disease in our country,” said Elizabeth Battaglino Cahill, Executive Director and Director of Marketing and Consumer Affairs for the NWHRC. “Through the Healthy From The Heart campaign, women will gain the information and confidence they need to talk to their doctor.”

Dr. Cindy Grines, Director, Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, William Beaumont Hospital, in Royal Oak, Michigan confirms that a diagnosis of heart disease can be easily treated under the care of a doctor. “Women must realize that education is the key to conquering the threat of coronary artery disease. Talking openly and honestly with a doctor will help women find the best option for treating the condition once they have been diagnosed. There are a variety of treatment options now available, ranging from the minimally invasive placement of a drug-eluting stent to the more invasive bypass surgery.”

The Healthy From The Heart survey polled 1,979 women, ages 35 and older via telephone, and was conducted by International Communicat ions Research from July to August 2005. Multiple waves of the survey were fielded to collect the appropriate sample sizes for each population. The margin of error ranges from +/- 3.57 to +/- 5.88 percentage points.

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