March 09, 2005

Crapo, Health Institute Cite Alarming Stats For Womenâ??s Health

D.C. forum focuses on new study involving womenâ??s health

Washington, DC â?? Idaho Senator Mike Crapo expressed alarm today about an increase in heart disease in American women and wants medical care providers to be more diligent in advising women on heart health matters. At a briefing on Capitol Hill this week, sponsored by the Jacobs Institute of Womenâ??s Health, a new report by the Institute was publicly released, identifying ways to overcome the barriers that currently keep women from receiving the best possible preventive services for cardiovascular disease. Crapo, who co-chairs The Congressional Heart and Stroke Coalition, spoke about the statistics and information released in that report.â??Heart disease in women is the leading cause of death for American women and a major cause of disability,â?? Crapo said. â??Eight million women are currently living with heart disease, and over half a million will die this year from conditions and illnesses related to heart disease. Diagnosis and management of heart disease have improved generally, but women have not experienced as dramatic a decrease in mortality rates as men have. As a nation, we must raise awareness of this crisis and find manageable solutions in order to save lives.â??The Jacobs report suggests several causes may be behind the current problems in womenâ??s cardiovascular health. Many primary care providers donâ??t counsel women on activities such as exercise and physical diet that will promote cardiovascular health, the report claims. Lack of time and reimbursement prevent many physicians and nurses from providing prevention services in their practices. Improvements in womenâ??s cardiovascular care have also been hampered by lack of gender-specific data, as performance measures arenâ??t reported separately for women and men. Finally, the report cites a lack of a coordinated strategy to increase prevention services and gender-specific research. â??I want women to be aware of the risks posed by cardiovascular disease, and the steps they can take to prevent this condition,â?? Crapo explained. â??Cardiovascular disease can be prevented in so many cases. Being physically active, not using tobacco, and eating a healthy diet are just a few of the steps every woman can take to reduce their risk of heart disease. Awareness of the problem, and increased effort in prevention, will reduce the frequency and impact of this terrible condition. Being healthy is not a gender-specific condition, and we can all be more diligent in safeguarding our own health. The Congressional Heart and Stroke Coalition will continue its education efforts to alert members of Congress to concerns such as those raised by this new report. With coordination from Congress and the medical community, we can make a difference in womenâ??s health.â??# # #