Greater Emphasis Needed On Promoting Women’s Heart Health, Say Researchers

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Our weight can often be a sensitive subject, yet when our health is on the line surely this shouldn’t be an issue when talking to your GP?

A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggests that both women and their physicians are spending insufficient time on women’s heart health because of the social awkwardness surrounding body weight. It may come as a surprise, but researchers have proof that fewer women are being assessed for cardiovascular conditions because of their shy attitudes toward their own weight.

This barrier needs addressing: cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, with upwards of 400,000 heart health-related fatalities every year. John Hopkins University states that 2,200 people EVERY DAY die as a consequence of this disease.

“Increasing awareness of cardiovascular disease in women has stalled with no major progress in almost 10 years, and little progress has been made in the last decade in increasing physician awareness or use of evidence-based guidelines to care for female patients,” said Bairey Merz, director of the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center in the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute and the study’s lead author.

The purpose of the study was to “determine knowledge, attitudes and beliefs” surrounding women’s heart health. Researchers from the Women’s Health Alliance interviewed 1,011 U.S. women between the ages of 25 and 60 for the study, as well as collecting data from 200 physicians and 100 cardiologists, and found the following:

  • 45% of women had no idea heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States
  • 71% of women never brought up the issue of heart health with their physician, believing their doctor would raise the issue if it became problematic. Physicians were most likely to discuss heart health if brought up by a patient
  • 40% of women reported having a heart health assessment in the last year
  • 74% reported having one or more risk factor for health disease, yet only 16% were told by a doctor they were at risk

Perhaps the biggest reveal surrounds the way women view their appearance  and presumed physical fitness. 63% percent of women admitted to putting off going to the doctor at least sometimes and 45% of women canceled or postponed an appointment until they lost weight.

Many women said they felt embarrassed or overwhelmed by their heart disease and many also reported that they experienced difficulties in losing weight or finding time to exercise. Merz added that these findings show a growing need to destigmatize cardiovascular disease for women.

“Helping women overcome barriers to increasing physical activity and healthier eating habits may help to avoid the stigma of focusing on weight loss,” said Jennifer G. Robinson, MD, MPH, from the College of Public Health at the University of Iowa, who commented on the paper. “Women are often the gate-keepers for family meals, activities and health care, and a focus on healthy lifestyle habits may also encourage early prevention in the family as a whole.”

This is useful advice that carries the weight of having a “knock-on” effect. Acknowledging heart health in one person raises the probability of the entire family unit adopting those same health habits.

Those habits and methods in how we combat heart disease are now changing. Previous behaviors considered detrimental to cardiovascular health no longer carry those same risks:

Here at the clinic we offer nutritional counselling and dietary advice that aims to help you realistically lose weight and keep it off for good. How do we do that?

By addressing a person’s weight, we assess the overall functionality of the body. See, the body is a machine. Excessive weight is a sign of an inefficient machine. To lose weight in a healthy way, you need to put in optimal food for optimal machine performance. It’s the same as ensuring that your car runs effectively: good fuel. That’s one key component of this.

In order to keep the body working efficiently, we must also make sure the other parts of the machine are operating optimally, like the liver, heart, kidneys, and gastrointestinal tract. They are just as vital in a good outcome for weight loss.

This is Chinese medicine at it’s finest. Through thousands of years in administering herbal and dietary therapies, Chinese medical diagnostics evolved to be able to detect the specific areas of the machine that need support. By implementing herbal and dietary therapies in concert, you can produce a machine that is pumping with vitality.

There are no gimmicks or intense exercise regimens in our approach, just choosing to keep your body’s systems healthy. Call us today to schedule an appointment and start your weight loss journey.

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