Women are the beating heart of families, communities, and economies. Yet heart disease is the leading cause of death in women worldwide. High blood pressure is the single largest risk factor for this killer.1 The first Hologic Global Women’s Health Index reveals a significant gap between the need for blood pressure screening to catch early signs of heart disease and the availability of screening around the world.
Despite advances in medicine and treatment, the prevalence of myocardial infarctions has increased for women in midlife (35 to 54 years old).2
In response, the Hologic Global Women’s Health Index notes deficits in women’s care and calls for urgent action to improve care and prevention, fill knowledge gaps, and increase awareness to tackle the worldwide leading cause of death among women—heart disease.
Blood Pressure Testing Is Essential
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), hypertension is called a “silent killer.” Most people with hypertension are unaware of the problem because it may have no warning signs or symptoms. For this reason, it is essential that a blood pressure test is conducted regularly.3
WHO also notes that hypertension is a serious medical condition and can increase the risk of heart, brain, kidney, and other diseases.4 The Hologic Global Women’s Health Index discovered that, in 2020, only one in three women worldwide had a blood pressure test in the previous 12 months.
The WHO advises that it is important to detect early signs of heart disease so that proper management, treatment, and counselling for necessary lifestyle changes can begin.
Blood pressure screenings are an inexpensive and noninvasive means of catching these problems early when they can be more easily addressed.
A Global Problem
More than a billion people worldwide have hypertension (high blood pressure).5 Two-thirds of cases are found in low- and middle-income countries, largely due to increased risk factors in those populations in recent decades.
Blood pressure test numbers vary widely across the globe, from a low of 14% among women in Ivory Coast and Turkey, to a high of 76% of women in Latvia.
A Guide to Global Improvements
Most cardiovascular diseases can be prevented by addressing behavioral risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet and obesity, physical inactivity, and harmful use of alcohol, according to the WHO.6
The data revealed by the Hologic Global Women’s Health Index can help guide health and community leaders toward increasing blood pressure screenings, treatment, and follow-up. As a result, more women around the world will be able to help their families, communities, societies, and economies thrive while also enjoy the benefits of good health themselves.
Women’s health is global health.
To learn more about the findings from the 2020 Hologic Global Women’s Health Index, please download the report.
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