Heart Disease Prevention Guidelines for Women Updated

Focus is on understanding risks, applying measures likely to work in the "real world"

TUESDAY, Feb. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Practical medical advice that works in the "real world," taking into account personal and socioeconomic realities, may more successfully prevent cardiovascular disease in women than recommendations based only on research findings, according to an update to the American Heart Association (AHA) guideline for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in women, published online Feb. 14 in Circulation.

Lori Mosca, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., of Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues have updated the AHA guidelines for women, identifying factors that may hinder patients and doctors from following guidelines, and offering strategies for addressing them.

The updated guidelines focus on preventive measures that can work in the "real world," considering that women's health, personal, and socioeconomic factors often challenge a clinician's attempt to improve patients' cardiovascular health. The guidelines address conditions associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease in women, including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, and pregnancy complications like preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, or pregnancy-induced hypertension. Racial and ethnic diversity is recognized as an important factor in determining cardiovascular risk, and some preventive therapies lacking strong clinical evidence are highlighted. Depression screening is added as a part of an overall evaluation for cardiovascular risk because depression often affects a patient's compliance with medication regimens and lifestyle changes.

"These guidelines are a critical weapon in the war against heart disease, the leading killer of women. They are an important evolution in our understanding of women and heart disease," the authors stated in a press release. "Initiatives, such as Go Red For Women, give women access to the latest information and real-life solutions to lower their risk of heart disease."

Several authors disclosed financial relationships with the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.

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