To learn how familiar and knowledgable women in a targeted segment of the population are about primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH) and secondary forms of pulmonary hypertension (PH). To understand if any relationships exist between women’s demographic, health or attitudinal profiles and their overall knowledgeability about PPH and PH.
We surveyed 201 women between the ages of 30 and 55 in urban, suburban and rural New Jersey by telephone using random digit dialing concerning their awareness about PH. We also asked questions to ascertain how women might access the healthcare system to learn about PH. Women were considered to be familiar with PH if they had ever heard of PH. Women were considered to have basic knowledge about PH if they indicated that PH was a disease of high blood pressure in the lungs. Women were considered to be at greater risk for PH if they admitted to one of the following: family member with PH, history of appetite suppressant use, chronic liver disease, scleroderma or personal diagnosis of PH.
FAMILIARITY VS. BASIC KNOWLEDGE ABOUT PHALL WOMENWOMEN “AT RISK” FOR PHFAMILIAR WITH PH145/201 (72%)33/38 (87%)HAVE BASIC KNOWLEDGE ABOUT PH47/201 (23%)7/38 (18%)
WOMEN’S ACCESS TO THE HEALTHCARE SYSTEMALL WOMENWOMEN “AT RISK” FOR PHGYNECOLOGIST VISIT ANNUALLY118/184 (64%)21/36 (58%)GP/FP/INTERNIST VISIT ANNUALLY91/184 (49%)23/36 (64%)INTERNET AS SOURCE OF MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT PH151/188 (80%)26/35 (74%)CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrated that although the majority of women surveyed were familiar with PH, most did not have even basic knowledge about the disease. Specifically, less than 1/4 of those women at risk for PH had basic knowledge about PH. Those at risk for PH were equally likely to visit a gynecologist or a medical doctor for healthcare annually. Approximately 3/4 of all women surveyed and specifically, 3/4 of those at risk for PH would utilize the Internet to access information about PH.
This study indicates the need for improved education about PH, particularly of those at risk for PH. Awareness among physicians about PH should be directed toward those specializing in medicine and gynecology. Education of the public may be directed via the Internet.
M.L. Scharf, The Florence and Edgar Leslie Charitable Trust, grant monies.