Survey: Women Don’t Talk Heart Health With Doctors

DENVER (CBS4) – A new survey shows many women and their doctors don’t talk about heart health.

Tracy Solomon Clark was a mom with a stressful career, and figured that was behind her fatigue and shortness of breath. She never suspected she had an unhealthy heart, and would eventually need double bypass surgery.

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(credit: CBS)

“It go real-real when ‘I’m sorry, we’re gonna have to cut your chest open,’ and it became very, very frightening, and I’m suddenly realizing that I’m facing death,” Clark said.

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Tracy Solomon Clark (credit: CBS)

The 51-year-old says she never discussed heart health with her doctor, and it turns out she’s not alone.

According to a new survey int he Journal of the American College of Cardiology, only 35 percent of primary care physicians say they talk about heart health during exams with female patients even though heart disease is the number one killer of women.

“It kills more women than all cancers combined,” said Dr. Noel Bairey Merz of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

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Dr. Noel Bairey Merz (credit: CBS)

Dr. Merz led the study that also revealed many women are hesitant to get check-ups, with 60 percent of women admitting putting off doctor appointments and 45 percent saying they cancel or postpone checkups because they want to lose weight first.

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(credit: CBS)

“Women are more objectified, women are more judged by their appearance,” Dr. Merz said.

Clark now encourages other women to pay attention to potential symptoms.

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(credit: CBS)

“If you have to get a second, third, fourth opinion, do that,” Clark said. “If you have to go to the emergency room three times in one day, do that. But listen to your body.”

And make sure you see your doctor regularly.

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