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Table 2 Summary of key findings

From: Exploratory study into the awareness of heart diseases among Emirati women (UAE) and their health seeking behaviour- a qualitative study

Awareness of heart diseases
• Most women believed diabetes was the greatest health concern and risk factor for heart diseases.
• Breast cancer and heart diseases were considered the main cause of death among Emirati women
• Other risk factors identified included obesity, smoking, menopause and stress
• Women believed left sided chest pain and fainting to be symptoms of heart diseases but were mostly unaware of atypical symptoms of heart diseases, which are more commonly seen in women.
• Women generally believed heart attacks were associated with pain unless the episode occurred during sleep
Factors that influence healthcare utilisation
• Lack of awareness of symptoms was considered the main barrier towards taking action for health matters. Women felt they were knowledgeable about breast cancer and diabetes owing to public health campaigns but had not heard much about heart diseases.
• Women relied on friends and family for health related information.
• Women mainly depended on family members to provide them with immediate attention in a health emergency, many did not know how to call for an ambulance.
• Dissatisfaction with healthcare services, lack of accountability of doctors and dearth of experienced, specialised doctors were listed as reasons for opting for healthcare outside of UAE.
• Older women showed a preference for female doctors, however generally the gender and religion of the doctor was not a major consideration for Emirati women. Consulting male physicians was culturally acceptable.
• Sociocultural influences contributed to delays in seeking health care assistance. Women were inclined to think of their family first and were more likely to consider solutions for ‘hasad’ (evil eye) and household herbs as remedies before seeking professional medical assistance.