Survey: Young Women Underestimate Heart Disease - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

Survey: Young Women Underestimate Heart Disease

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SOURCE Peter Ventura Law

WORCESTER, Mass., June 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Great publicity and enthusiastic celebrity support has worked wonders to raise awareness of breast cancer. But while medical professionals struggle to determine what exactly we can do to reduce it – More mammograms or fewer? Aggressive intervention or delayed?  – all the attention may be misleading our young women. A recent survey, commissioned by Peter Ventura, a personal injury and medical malpractice attorney in Worcester, MA, found some disturbing results.

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He sponsored an online survey, conducted by Google, in which 3,304 women were asked a single question: "Which of the following do you think is the leading cause of death of women in the USA?"

Respondents were given five choices: Heart disease; all cancers (including breast cancer); Stroke; Alzheimer's disease; or Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases. Most women (61%) correctly identified heart disease as the number one killer of women in the US. Of the wrong answers, cancer was picked most often, with about 27% of women mistakenly selecting it.

The surprise came when looking at a breakdown by age. Women from 18 to 24 years-old thought cancer was the leading cause of death at a whopping rate of 43%.

"Medical malpractice attorneys often see the unfortunate results of misdiagnosis and delayed care," said Mr. Ventura, who also indicated that "when it comes to medical issues, an informed public is a safer public." He points out that most women have heard about doing breast self-examinations and the need for mammograms, but fewer know the risk factors or symptoms of heart disease. "The real tragedy here is that, with respect to heart disease, lifestyle changes can dramatically improve outcomes."

According to the CDC, behavioral changes can make a real difference in risk. Smoking, alcohol consumption, obesity, lack of regular exercise and poor eating habits all increase risk and all are behaviors that can be altered. If more women took the danger of heart disease seriously at a younger age, they'd still have time to do something about it.

Along with good lifestyle choices, there is the need to seek treatment for associated conditions like high blood pressure, cholesterol levels and diabetes. These are health care treatments young women need to be aware of as specifically reducing heart disease risk, according to Mr. Ventura. "When patients are educated about the risks of heart disease and insist on receiving medical attention and care pertinent to these risks, medical outcomes are likely improved in many cases."

It is an open question as to whether the attention paid to breast cancer is pushing heart disease aside as a health issue for young women. Certainly the "think pink" campaigns have generated a great deal of enthusiasm and press promotion. Has it gotten out of hand? In some cases, breast cancer organizations themselves have pointed to examples of "pink washing" – attempts to use breast cancer awareness simply as a marketing tool, where no money from sales can be tracked to donations.

Of course, neither disease needs to be the enemy of the other. The inclusive issue is women's health, and that's not a popularity contest. 

More details on this survey can be found at:

Information for media professionals:

Interview requests and contact for additional information: Peter Ventura, 508-755-7535

Online resources:

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