Dr. Iva Smolens describes why it is necessary for women to advocate for themselves as it relates to heart disease.
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It is really important for women to advocate for their own healthcare with their physicians, and it’s extraordinarily important that you as a patient ask your physician, “Is there anything that I need to do in terms of heart risk?” Heart disease is the number one killer of women. We need to be vocal about it. Why is it so important that you ask your physician about these things? Because in a survey that was conducted in 1999, and repeated in 2003, women answered one question with a very surprising result: About 40% of women, both surveys stated that their doctors didn’t even address heart disease risk factors with them. It’s the number one killer. Unfortunately, we are all very attuned to addressing issues related to breast cancer and getting our routine breast screening. We go for mammography; we have PAP smears to avoid cervical cancer; we even have, you know, testing to avoid colon cancer with checking our stools for blood. All these things occur with less frequency than heart disease, but yet we don’t do routine screening for heart disease. The only way to make an improvement on that is we advocate for ourselves and ask our physicians about these things.
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