Washington, D.C., and Bethesda, Md. -- Heart disease is the leading cause of death for adults—both men and women—in our region and nationally. However, a new survey from Johns Hopkins Medicine in the Greater Washington Area shows that most residents rank accidents and cancer as their top concern. What causes this disconnect?
The survey, conducted January 20-23, 2019, also finds that area residents place primary care providers and the internet at the top of their list for sources of information when it comes to heart health. And the good news: these trusted sources are doing their jobs, with more than 80 percent of adults saying that they know the daily steps needed to promote good heart health.
The survey was commissioned by Sibley Memorial Hospital and Suburban Hospital, members of Johns Hopkins Medicine, and the findings are based on online responses from 408 adults in the Greater Washington Area.
“While these findings show that Washingtonians are aware of the dangers of heart disease—and oftentimes living with it—there’s concern that other health issues are perceived as greater threats,” said Harry Bigham, MD, a cardiologist with Johns Hopkins Community Physicians Heart Care in Bethesda. “If you’re living with heart disease in the Greater Washington Area, I’d urge you to take action and take advantage of the local expertise that is available online—and right around the corner.”
Other key findings include:
- Heart disease is a fact of life for individuals, families across the region: Nearly one-third of people overall and over half (52 percent) of baby boomers living in the Greater Washington Area say they have a heart-related condition. The number could be higher. According to a recent report by the American Heart Association, nearly half of all Americans—121 million adults—have some form of cardiovascular disease. And half (50 percent) of people living in the Greater Washington Area say they have a history of heart-related conditions in their family.
- Washingtonians are generally aware of heart disease as the leading cause of death: Approximately one-half (49 percent) of people in the Greater Washington Area are aware that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Women in the area are much more aware (60 percent) than men (39 percent).
- Awareness + need does not equal concern: Despite all that awareness and need, people living in the Greater Washington Area rank heart disease third on their list of number one health concerns, far behind accidents and cancer.
- What people know about steps for heart health: More than four-in-five said they were aware of the daily steps needed to promote heart health. Only one-third (33 percent) say they are very aware of these steps.
- Doctors, internet most popular sources of information: The most popular source of information about heart health were primary care providers, but close behind was the Internet.
Johns Hopkins Medicine is translating awareness into action in the prevention of heart disease in the Greater Washington Area. From connecting those in the region to heart health experts, to supporting community-driven initiatives to overcome health disparities (Ward Infinity), we invite the community to learn more about local resources. Join Marlis Gonzalez-Fernandez, M.D., Ph.D., and Danielle Patterson, M.D., S.M., from Johns Hopkins Medicine at the 17th Annual Women’s Health Symposium on Thursday, Feb. 28, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., at the Chevy Chase Club in Bethesda. This program is free; registration is required.
 The survey was conducted from January 20-23, 2019 of n=408 in the Greater Washington Area drawing from an online panel provided by Qualtrics Research.
About Sibley Memorial Hospital
Sibley Memorial Hospital, a member of Johns Hopkins Medicine, in Northwest Washington, D.C., has a distinguished 127-year history of serving the community. As a not-for-profit, full-service, community hospital, Sibley offers medical, surgical, intensive care, obstetric, oncology, orthopaedic and skilled nursing inpatient services and a state-of-the-art 24-hour Emergency Department. Sibley’s campus, with its new patient tower, is also home to the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, Grand Oaks, an assisted living residence, a medical building with physician offices as well as ambulatory surgery and imaging centers. Every day, Sibley fulfills its mission to deliver excellence and compassionate care – every person, every time. Learn more about Sibley at www.Sibley.org.
About Suburban Hospital
Suburban Hospital, a member of Johns Hopkins Medicine, is a community-based, not-for-profit hospital serving Montgomery County and the surrounding area since 1943. The hospital is a regional trauma center with centers of excellence in cardiovascular care, stroke and neurosciences, orthopaedics and oncology. Suburban Hospital’s unique affiliation with the National Institutes of Health, located across the street from the hospital, has brought advanced research from the laboratory to the bedside, providing the local community with around-the-clock access to the most advanced diagnostic and treatment protocols for stroke, heart attack and other clinical conditions. Learn more about Suburban Hospital at www.suburbanhospital.org.