According to CBS News medical contributor Dr. Tara Narula - a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York and national spokesman for the American Heart Association - the annual mortality rate for cardiovascular disease for women has outpaced men since 1984.
"We're learning that the biology of women's heart disease may be very different from men in terms of how they have their heart attacks, the mechanisms of their blood vessel dysfunction," Narula
told "CBS This Morning."
According to Narula
, health care practitioners also share blame for "misdiagnosing" female heart disease patients, "for not sending them for diagnostic evaluation" as often, and "not giving them the guidelines for treatment."
The Red for Women movement was founded in 2004 to increase awareness of heart disease for women.
said it's done "really well," but still not enough - while the AHA
says about 80 percent of heart disease may be preventable, only 55 percent of women realize that cardiac disease is their "biggest health threat."
"A lot of women, they don't recognize the symptoms or if they do have the symptoms, they blow them off, they don't prioritize themselves, or they're afraid or they're embarrassed," Narula
In addition to boosting awareness, Narula
also urged women to take active preventative measures, including getting annual physical examinations, knowing the risk factors, and not ignoring symptoms.
"One of the things the AHA
is promoting is a 'well woman' visit.
This is the idea that you go as a woman to see an internist, an OB guide and talk about your health history, your family history, your risk factors, before you ever get to the point where you have a problem," Narula