Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease for Rural Women Nursing Capstone Project

Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease for Rural Women Nursing Capstone Project

Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease for Rural Women Nursing Capstone Project

Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease for Rural Women
Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
Nursing Capstone Project
Capella University
February, 2017
Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease for Rural Women
Prevention of disease is more than just a reaction to events. It is a lifestyle change for a person that focuses on health. The focus of this paper is on the promotion of cardiovascular health for women in rural areas. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for women and has been for many years. Heart disease and stroke have been found to be the cause of one out of three deaths for women. It claims more lives than all cancers combined, and the majority of cardiovascular problems can be prevented (American Heart Association, 2017). Despite that knowledge women still suffer from cardiovascular problems and are statistically under diagnosed or under treated when compared with men (Heart Sister, 2016).   With that in mind an informational pamphlet was designed to educate women on the facts about their health, as well as the importance of regular screenings and available resources in the community. Spreading awareness about cardiovascular health can help women take charge of their health. With the support of family, community, and health organizations women can make positive changes in their own lives as well as those around them.
Meeting the needs of rural women
The content within the pamphlet was chosen to reach out to women in rural communities and create awareness of cardiovascular disease.  Heart disease is known as the silent killer, women may look and feel completely fine (American Heart Associations, 2017). Women are known to have atypical symptoms of heart disease that are commonly associated with other things.  Women may not experience any chest pain or pressure. Instead women may have symptoms including back pain, rapid heart rate, nausea, and fatigue (American Heart Association, 2017). Many of those symptoms can be attributed to stress, over extension, and flu. For this reason it is all too common that women miss the tell tale signs of heart disease. Women are not the only ones who miss those signs. According to the American Heart Association women are under-diagnosed and under-treated for heart conditions when compared to men presenting with the same symptoms (American Heart Association, 2017). In addition to different symptoms women may have additional risk factors for heart disease such as birth control and hormone replacement.
For women to begin the process of improving cardiovascular health a person first needs to be aware of the reason why the change is needed. According to Hageman, Pullen, Walker, & Boeckner, a review of literature and studies suggest that a vast number of women are unaware of the symptoms and risks of cardiovascular disease. However women who are educated about their own personal risk of cardiovascular disease were found to take preventative action (Hageman, Pullen, Walker, & Boeckner, 2010).
Barriers that women face related to heart disease and health promotion
Rural women are particularly vulnerable to heart disease due to a much lower occurrence of preventative health screenings when compared to women who reside in urban areas (Hageman, Pullen, Walker, & Boeckner, 2010). The limited access to care that rural communities suffer from significantly impairs their ability seek out medical help and results in poor health outcomes (Bale, 2010). “Health needs of women living in rural communities are typically not considered separately from those of men” (Paluck, Allerdings, Kealy, & Dorgan, 2006, p. 112). Poor access to health care services is not that only barrier that rural women face. The rural population in general has a higher likelihood of developing cardiovascular problems due to differences in income, education, acculturation, inactivity, and dietary factors (Bale, 2010).
In addition to a lack of some health promotion services women in rural areas may experience an increased problem staying physically active. This can be due to lack of time and lack of local fitness classes and gyms.  Finding the time to eat healthy is another problem along with access to variety in food selection at local grocery stores (Paluck, Allerdings, Kealy, & Dorgan, 2006). Women in particular have a different set of priorities when it comes to daily life and health.
The willingness to participate in improving health is another common barrier. Many women are juggling parenthood, work, continuing education, and household duties.  Women are busy, and it becomes easier to put their own health on a backburner. The majority of cases of heart disease are completely preventable, yet it still manages to afflict the lives of 6.6 million women each year (Heart Sisters, 2016).
Overcoming Barriers
The heart disease pamphlet was designed to spread awareness and deal with some of the barriers that women living in rural communities face. The first barrier that is addressed is creating awareness. Women openly discuss and display pink ribbons for breast cancer awareness. This pamphlet encourages women to talk about heart disease and provides information needed to illicit change. “While all changes do not lead to improvement, all improvement requires change” (Institute for Healthcare Improvement, 2017, para. 1). The American Heart Association program go red for women is a recognizable symbol that women can display to help further promote awareness and prevention. In addition to simply providing an information sheet this pamphlet also attempts address the access to care problem by including supportive websites and questions to ask providers to ensure quality care.
The pamphlet was not designed to increase routine health services in rural areas, but to encourage residents to pursue available resources. Additional programs specifically designed to provide additional health care access in rural areas may be needed in the future. The Southern seven women’s initiative for cardiovascular health is a collaborative program designed to improve heart health for women living in southern Illinois. The study was specifically designed to deal with barriers that rural women experience. The study used a combination of several methods to increase awareness and provide support.  (Zimmermann, Khare, Huber, Moehring, Koch, & Geller, 2012).
Effectiveness of Health Promotion at Local, National and Global Levels
Health care has been treating disease since the beginning by providing medical care and services to those who suffer from illness. The entire concept of health promotion is a change in that system. Health care providers no longer want to wait until a patient is sick. Preventative care is a collaboration of providers and community resources to support and guide people toward a healthier lifestyle. Targeting vulnerable populations and disease is a method to focus efforts and achieve the maximum patient outcome (Institute for Healthcare Improvement, 2017).  Barriers to receiving care can be universal to local and global initiatives to improve health. For organization the largest barrier to health promotion is cost, however recent studies have brought to light the long term financial benefits to preventative care and dealing with preventable chronic conditions (Mayes, & Armistead, 2013).  Many local strategies for health promotion are based on national programs, such as the Go Red for Women Campaign. However many of those national initiatives began as local community studies that yielded positive results and information such as the Southern Seven Women’s Initiative for Cardiovascular Health. In addition to learning from the development of health promotion programs, the bad habits and unhealthy lifestyles of people in the United States is spreading (Mayes, & Armistead, 2013). That suggests the need for further funding and promotion of health and disease prevention on local, national, and global levels.
Health promotion and disease prevention involves a great deal of assessment for barriers of a given population. To maintain future sustainability healthcare organizations must instigate change and develop new strategies to improve preventative care.  This paper has shown the need for promotion of cardiovascular health for women. The barriers to health can be similar no matter which population is targeted such as access to care, willingness to participate in change, and awareness of the problem. Local, national, and global programs all deal with the same sort of barriers and use similar methods to continue to develop improvements. Continued focus on health promotion is vital to the health of the nation.
American Heart Association. (2017). Go red for women. Retrieved from
Bale, B., (2010). Optimizing hypertension management in underserved rural populations. Journal of the National Medical Association,102(1), 7-10. Retrieved from
Hageman, P., Pullen, C., Walker, S., & Boeckner, L. (2010). Blood pressure, fitness, and lipid profiles of rural women in the wellness for women project. Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy Journal, 21(3), 27-32, 34. Retrieved from
Heart Sisters. (2016). Women and heart disease. Retrieved from
Institute for Healthcare Improvement. (2017). Using change concepts for improvement. Retrieved from
Mayes, R. & Armistead, B. (2013). Chronic disease, prevention policy, and the future of public health and primary care. Medicine, Healthcare, and Philosophy. 16, 691–697. DOI 10.1007/s11019-012-9454-0
Paluck, E. C., Allerdings, M., Kealy, K., & Dorgan, H. (2006). Health promotion needs of women living in rural areas: An exploratory study. Canadian Journal of Rural Medicine, 11(2), 111-6. Retrieved from
Zimmermann, K., Khare, M. M., Huber, R., Moehring, P. A., Koch, A., & Geller, S. E. (2012). Southern seven women’s initiative for cardiovascular health: Lessons learned in community health outreach with rural women. American Journal of Health Education, 43(6), 349-355. Retrieved from

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