NEW YORK — Heart disease kills more American women than all types of cancer combined, yet many don’t discuss the dangers with their doctor.
A new study found that 74 percent of women reported having at least one risk factor for, but only 16 percent were told by their doctor that they were at risk.
When KC Maurer was hit by a sudden pain in her chest and shortness of breath, she waited hours before deciding to go to the hospital.
“It felt like somebody had taken their knuckle and rapped me in the center of my chest,” Maurer said.
Since she was 40 years old, she said she “absolutely” did not think it was a heart attack.
“I didn’t have the classic TV or movie heart attack symptoms ever,” Maurer said.
Turns out, it was a heart attack.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. And yet, Maurer’s first cardiologist couldn’t figure out how to make things better.
“He said, ‘I don’t know what to do with you. Most of my patients are geriatric and male, you’re young and female and I don’t know how to help you,'” Maurer said.
A new report by the Women’s Heart Alliance pinpoints a communication gap between women and their doctors. While most women got a routine physical, just 40 percent received a heart risk assessment from their physician. And almost half said they canceled or postponed a doctor’s visit until they lost a few pounds.
“That’s a very dangerous thing,” said Dr. Holly Anderson, who directs education and outreach at New York Presbyterian’s Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute. “Women all too often wait if they think there’s a problem…