The uptake of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is common, especially among patients with chronic illness. However, the use of CAM by women with cardiovascular disease and how this influences the interface with conventional medicine is poorly understood. To examine the relation between heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes and the use of CAM and conventional medicine in a cohort of women, data were taken from the 2010 survey (n = 9,748) of the 1946 to 1951 cohort of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health (ALSWH). Analyses focused on women who had been diagnosed or treated for heart disease, diabetes, and/or hypertension. The outcome measures were the use of conventional or CAM treatments in the previous year. Most women had hypertension only (n = 2,335), and few (n = 78) reported having heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes. Women with hypertension were less likely (odds ratio [OR] 0.82, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.74 to 0.91) to consult with a CAM practitioner and less likely (OR 0.86, 95% CI 0.77 to 0.97) to use self-prescribed CAM, while women with diabetes were also less likely (OR 0.66, 95% CI 0.54 to 0.81) to consult with a CAM practitioner and less likely (OR 0.68, 95% CI 0.55 to 0.83) to use self-prescribed CAM. In conclusion, compared with studies conducted on CAM use and other chronic illness groups, the use of CAM by women with heart disease, hypertension, and/or diabetes in this study was lower, and future research is needed to explore patients' perceptions of cardiovascular risk and the role of CAM in their self-management in the community, among other issues.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine