ABSTRACT Although awareness of cardiovascular disease (CVD) as the leading cause of death among U.S. women has improved over the past decade, factors such as obesity, untreated hypertension, diabetes and the lack of access to healthcare services prevent healthcare providers from making additional gains in the fight against heart disease. Due to demographic changes in the U.S., healthcare providers are beginning to acknowledge the challenge of providing quality care to a diverse population. Root causes of health care disparities include variations and lack of provider understanding of health beliefs, cultural values and preferences, and patients’ inability to communicate symptoms in multiple languages. Barriers related to the patient, care provider and the healthcare system are discussed as well as ideas that will help address the challenges we face going forward.
Cite this paper
Sherrod, M. , Sherrod, N. , Spitzer, M. and Cheek, D. (2012) Prevention of heart disease in women: Considerable challenges remain. Open Journal of Nursing, 2, 176-180. doi: 10.4236/ojn.2012.23027.
 Mosca, L. (2011) Effectiveness-based guidelines for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in women—2011 update: A guideline from the American Heart Association. Circulation, 123, 1-21.
 Mosca, L. (2010) Twelve-year follow-up of American women’s awareness of cardiovascular disease risk and barriers to heart health. Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, 3, 120-127.
 Gholizadeh, L. and Davidson, P. (2008) More similarities than differences: An international comparison of CVD mortality and risk factors in women. Health Care Women International, 29, 3-22. doi:10.1080/07399330701723756
 AGREE Collaboration (2003) Development and validation of an international appraisal instrument for accessing the quality of clinical practice guidelines: The AGREE project. Quality and Safety in Health Care, 12, 18-23.
 Institute of Medicine (2002) Unequal treatment: Confronting racial and ethnic disparities in health care. National Academies Press, Washington DC.
 Roger, V.L. (2011) Heart disease and stroke statistics 2011 update: A report from the American Heart Association. Circulation, 123, e18-e209.
 DiMatteo, M.R. (2004) Variations in patients’ adherence to medical recommendations: A quantitative review of 50 years of research. Medical Care, 42, 200-209.
 Doroodchi, H. (2008) Knowledge and attitudes of primary care physicians in the management of patients at risk for cardiovascular events. BMC Family Practice, 9, 42.
 Barnhart, J., et al. (2007) Physician knowledge levels and barriers to coronary risk prevention in women: Survey results from the Women and Health Disease Physician Education Initiative. Women’s Health Issues, 17, 93-100.
 Francke, A.L., et al. (2008) Factors influencing the implementation of clinical guidelines for health care professionals: A systematic meta-review. BMC Medical Informatics & Decision Making, 8, 38.
 Cohen, M.G. (2010) Racial and ethnic differences in the treatment of acute myocardial infarction: Findings from the Get With the Guidelines-Coronary Artery Disease program. Circulation, 121, 2294-2301.