Woman overcomes weight concern for a healthy heart - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Woman overcomes weight concern for a healthy heart

(Source: NBC) (Source: NBC)
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

There are several reasons Tracy Solomon Clark did not see a doctor when she first began having severe heart attack symptoms in her early 40's.

"I thought this was an old man disease,” Clark said. “Surely it wouldn't happen to me." 

What's more, Tracy put off getting medical care she urgently needed because of her weight. 

"The goal was to lose a few pounds because I was overweight, and then I'll go to the doctor," she said. 

She's not the only woman who feels this way. Nearly half of a 1,000-women survey said they'd postponed or canceled doctor visits because they wanted to lose weight first. 

Dr. Noel Bairey Merz, an M.D. at the Barbra Streisand Women's Heart Center and the doctor who led the survey, said that female patients face gender stigma, even in doctors’ offices.

"Women are more often told to lose weight rather than actually take a medication or do something that would be helpful to their health," she said.

The study also found that a quarter of the women said having heart disease would be an embarrassment because others would assume the woman was not eating healthy or exercising.

In addition to surveying patients, Merz also surveyed physicians who deal with heart disease. The group wasn't as large with 300 doctors surveyed, but it included cardiologists who specialize in heart disease. 

"Heart health was not a top concern among physicians,” Merz said. “A majority of physicians did not feel well prepared to discuss or to manage heart health in women." 

Fortunately, Tracy ended up getting help. She's had surgeries, is now on heart medication and has a daily routine.

"I walk about three miles a day,” she said. “I watch what I eat and I stay positive. I think good thoughts, I pray." 

What's missing from that list? Unnecessary concerns about weight.

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