Sixty per cent of women in US think of heart screenings as necessary only after age 40, whereas health experts recommend that screenings should begin in the 20s, a study has found.
According to the American Heart Association recommendations, screenings should start at 20, as the age may cause the onset of various heart-related disease.
"Women cannot wait until they're 40 to start paying attention to their risk factors. They can begin developing atherosclerosis, plaque in their arteries, in their teenage and early twenties," Carolina Demori, cardiologist at the Orlando Health Heart Institute in Florida, US, said in a statement.
"Therefore, it is vital to understand risk factors and make appropriate life changes as early as possible," Demori added.
Screenings beginning at age 20 should include weight and body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, cholesterol levels, glucose levels and waist circumference, all of which are directly associated with heart health and can be controlled to minimise risks.
For the study, the team conducted a survey, in which more than a thousand women participated.
The results showed that the average age women thought they should begin getting heart screenings was 41.
Only 8 per cent of women were aware that screenings should begin at some point in their 20s, though few knew it was at age 20.
In addition to heart screenings, doctors suggests that women should eat a healthy diet and implement an exercise routine.
"The study is a wake-up call that there needs to be more education on heart health and more aggressive screenings to prevent a small issue from developing into life-threatening conditions," Demori said.