WASHINGTON, D.C., and RED BANK, N.J. – February 2, 2015 – HealthyWomen and the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health are partnering with CardioDx on a new patient advocacy campaign to empower women to be proactive in discussing their heart health and testing options with their healthcare providers. It's called Spread the Word.
Spread The Word Heart disease is the number one killer of women and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined. Coronary artery disease (CAD), the most common form of heart disease, is caused by the buildup of fatty deposits (also known as plaque) in the arteries supplying the heart with blood and oxygen. Over time, this plaque buildup causes a narrowing or blockage in the heart arteries, which is called obstructive coronary artery disease, and decreases the amount of blood reaching the heart muscle. Ultimately, decreased blood flow and oxygen to the heart can lead to a severe cardiac condition such as a heart attack, heart failure, arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm), or even death.
The Spread the Word campaign educates women and those who love them about CAD symptoms and how to identify them, helps them understand questions women should be asking their healthcare providers, and empowers women to talk about appropriate testing options during those discussions.
"What many people don't know about CAD is that it can affect women and men in very different ways," said Gay Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health. "The initial warning signs of non-acute CAD in women are often symptoms that one wouldn't immediately associate with heart disease, making the condition even more difficult to diagnose. That's why it's so important for women to understand the symptoms of CAD and speak to their healthcare providers about diagnostic testing options."
Women may experience less obvious symptoms of a heart artery blockage, such as unexplained fatigue, sudden weakness, tightness or pressure in the back, or a burning sensation in the upper body. There are several testing options available for CAD but some tests can perform less accurately in women, and some may come with risks and side effects, such as radiation exposure from medical imaging scans or bleeding complications associated with surgical procedures.
"We want women to understand CAD testing options so that they can take an active role in their care and have more informed conversations with their healthcare providers," said Beth Battaglino, RN, Chief Executive Officer of HealthyWomen. "It's also important to remember the power of communication when raising awareness of an important health issue like heart disease and partnering with the community to create action – that's why the campaign is called ‘Spread the Word.' A short conversation, email or Facebook post between friends can mean the difference between clinicians safely ruling out the likelihood of CAD so they can quickly move on to find the real cause of a woman's symptoms and a diagnosis that comes too late."
During February Heart Month, a new Spread the Word public service announcement is debuting on television and radio stations across the country. It can be viewed online at GoSpreadtheWord.com, where visitors also can find a downloadable discussion guide and helpful information about CAD.
About Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a very common heart condition in the United States. One in six deaths among Americans is caused by CAD. CAD can cause a narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries (vessels to the heart that supply the heart with blood, oxygen, and nutrients), reducing blood flow to the heart muscle. This narrowing or blockage in the coronary arteries is often referred to as obstructive CAD, characterized by the presence of atherosclerosis, or plaque.
HealthyWomen is a nonprofit organization whose core mission is to educate, inform, and empower women to make smart health choices for themselves and their families. HealthyWomen partners with organizations, associations, and corporations interested in women's health to increase awareness of health and wellness issues, like CAD. For more information, please visit www.HealthyWomen.org.
About the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health
The National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health's mission is to ensure the provision of quality primary and specialty health care to women of all ages by women's health nurse practitioners and other women's health-focused advance practice registered nurses. NPWH seeks to increase women's wellness and health outcomes, decrease health disparities affecting women, enhance women's access to and knowledge of health resources, and protect and promote women's rights to make choices regarding their health within the context of their personal beliefs. NPWH serves advanced practice registered nurses by providing education and resources to increase clinical competencies, advocating for health care policies that support women and APRNs, collaborating with interprofessional strategic partners, and fostering evidence-based practice in women's health through research. For more information, please visit www.npwh.org.
CardioDx, Inc., a molecular diagnostics company specializing in cardiovascular genomics, is committed to developing clinically validated tests that empower clinicians to better tailor care to each individual patient. Strategically focused on coronary artery disease, CardioDx is committed to expanding patient access and improving healthcare quality and efficiency through the commercialization of genomic technologies. Please visit www.cardiodx.com for additional information.