Abstract 18501: A Major Opportunity for Obstetricians and Gynecologists: Improving Awareness of Cardiovascular Disease Among Women
Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one killer of women in the US, yet many women are still unaware of their risk of heart disease. A large ethnic gap in awareness exists: black and Hispanic women correctly identified CVD as their greatest health threat 36% and 34% of the time, respectively, compared to 56% of American women overall (Mosca 2013). We sought to determine the proportion of women who name heart disease as the leading killer of women in a diverse urban hospital in New York City. We also sought to determine which providers women see for primary care and if heart health was discussed by Ob/Gyns.
Methods: A 33-question survey was administered to women (age 18 and older) at 5 Ob/Gyn clinics affiliated with a large urban academic hospital center.
Results: 1013 questionnaires were completed. Of the female population analyzed, 63.3% were 18-40 years old and 35.3% were 41+ years old. Respondents were 40% Hispanic, 31% black, 20% white, 9% multi-ethnic and 30.5% have high school or less education and 42% have annual household income less $30K. Of all women sampled, only 28% were able to cite heart disease as the number one killer of women, 55% of these respondents were white and 21% were non-white (p<0.01). Young women identified CVD less frequently than older women (21% v 40%) (p<0.01). Respondents reported seeing an Ob/Gyn for annual visits more frequently than an Internist (66% v 48%) (p<0.01). This response was consistent among all age and ethnic groups analyzed. Most women (65%) (p<0.01) perceive that their Ob/Gyn does not discuss their heart health. This finding is consistent among non-white women (64%) and women 18-40 years old (66%).
Conclusions: Young, non-white women are least aware of cardiovascular disease as the leading killer of women. Awareness (21%) among non-white women in this urban, ethnically diverse part of New York City is even lower than levels of awareness reported among minorities nationally. These very women are more likely to see an Ob/Gyn annually than any other physician, and yet few women report that Ob/Gyns discuss their heart health. Given the high morbidity of CVD in women, Ob/Gyns should take advantage of their enormous access to young, reproductive aged women to begin a dialogue about heart health aimed at prevention.
- © 2013 by American Heart Association, Inc.