Two-hundred-twenty-four surveys were administered over a six-month period. Twenty-four surveys were incorrectly or incompletely filled out. Surveys that were incorrectly or incompletely filled out were not included in data analysis. The remaining 200 surveys were included in the data analysis. No record was kept concerning patient refusal to participate. Data analysis was purely descriptive.

The surveyed women appeared to be an accurate reflection of the surrounding geographic area of the medical center, with the majority of participants (74%) being African-American. The majority of women (52%) were in the 25-44 age category (Table 1).
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Table 1. Patient Demographics of Survey Participants

N

(%)
Age
<25 years

50

(25%)

25-44 years

104

(52%)

45+ years

46

(23%)

Race
African-American

147

(74%)

Hispanic

31

(16%)

Caucasian

9

(5%)

Asian

6

(3%)

Native American

3

(2%)

Other

4

(2%)

Education
High school

106

(53%)

College

64

(32%)

Graduate school

22

(11%)

The majority of participants indicated contact with a regular doctor with 92% (183/200) receiving healthcare from a clinic or private physician office. Similarly, 7% (14/200) of women indicated use of the emergency department for routine healthcare.
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Table 2. Participant’s Responses Regarding the Disease with the Greatest Mortality in Women

Disease (N=200)

N(%)

 

98

(49%)

Heart disease

25

(13%)

Domestic violence

24

(12%)

 

9

(5%)

 

8

(4%)

Lung cancer

5

(3%)

Cerebrovascular accident      3

(2%)

Pneumonia

1

(1%)

Education levels varied, with at least half of all participants indicating a high-school education. Two-thirds of the women received some form of college education, and less than one-third were college graduates.

Table 3. Responses Regarding the Disease Presenting the Greatest Health Concern for Women

Disease (N=200)

N(%)

Breast cancer

109

(55%)

Stress

39

(20%)

Heart disease

12

(6%)

Diabetes mellitus

10

(5%)

Domestic violence

9

(5%)

Lung cancer

6

(3%)

Asthma

2

d%)

Cerebrovascular accident

1

(1%)

The majority of surveyed women indicated that breast cancer was not only responsible for the greatest mortality in women but was also the greatest health concern facing women today. Only 25/200 (13%) of the women correctly identified heart disease as the entity with the greatest mortality in women. Almost an equal percentage of women felt that domestic violence was the leading cause of death in women. In addition, only a small percentage (6%, 12/200) of women felt heart disease to be the greatest health concern. Stress appeared to be a more significant health concern to these participants (Tables 2 and 3).

Table 4. Responses Regarding Risk Factors for Heart Disease

Risk Factors (N=200)

N(%)

Weight

141

(71%)

Cholesterol

111

(56%)

Hypertension

107

(54%)

Tobacco

103

(52%)

Stress

96

(48%)

Family history

87

(44%)

High-tat diet

71

(36%)

Sedentary lifestyle

52

(26%)

Diabetes mellitus

39

(20%)

Alcohol

26

(13%)

Racial background

23

(12%)

Unfamiliar

16

(8%)

Only three of the traditional cardiac risk factors: hypercholesteremia (56%), hypertension (54%), tobacco (52%) were correctly identified by at least half of all participants. Family history was correctly identified by 44% of women, and only 20% of women felt diabetes to be a cardiac risk factor (Table 4).
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Table 5. Symptoms of Myocardial Infarction

Symptoms (N=200)

N(%)

Chest pain

173

(87%)

Shortness of breath

127

(64%)

Chest fullness

104

(52%)

Dizziness

82

(41%)

Diaphoresis

62

(31%)

Lightheadedness

47

(24%)

Nausea

24

(12%)

Leg edema

22

(11%)

Back pain

16

(8%)

Gastrointestinal upset

11

(6%)

Women were surveyed concerning their perceived knowledge of heart disease. The majority of women rated their knowledge as fair to poor (46%), while 26% of the women rated their knowledge as good, and 12% rated their knowledge as very good. Although nearly half of the women indicated little-to-no knowledge about the symptoms of a MI, the majority of women were able to correctly identify the more clas­sic MI symptoms of: chest pain (87%) and shortness of breath (64%). There was a sharp decline in the percentages for the more atypical symptoms: dizziness (41%), diaphoresis (31%), lightheaded (24%), nausea (12%), and gastrointestinal upset (6%) (Table 5).
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