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Clinical recommendations suggest several lifestyle interventions.
In the United States, more women than men die of cardiovascular disease. It's the most common cause of death among women, accounting for one third of deaths. In recent years it also has been estimated to be accountable for more than $400 billion in health care costs and lost productivity annually. Many women live with this often-preventable disease (34% in the United States), and the population at risk for it is even greater.
An American Heart Association (AHA) report, Evidence-Based Guidelines for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in Women: 2007 Update, based on a systematic review of published scientific evidence (246 randomized clinical trials and large prospective cohort studies), offers the most current clinical recommendations for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in women ages 20 and older, including several lifestyle interventions-the cessation of smoking and the avoidance of environmental tobacco smoke; physical activity of moderate intensity (brisk walking, for example), 30 minutes daily, or 60 to 90 minutes daily to lose weight or sustain a weight loss; a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, high in fiber, and including fish at least twice weekly; weight management (body mass index between 18.5 and 24.9 kg/m2 and waist circumference of 35 in. or less); the use of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation (850 to 1,000 mg of EPA and DHA in capsule form); and the treatment of depression, if indicated.
The crux of the matter. Changes in habits and lifestyle are especially difficult to implement. Because cardiovascular disease affects so many women, their families, and society, nurses should discuss the AHA clinical recommendations with patients to maximize the implementation of preventive lifestyle interventions.
Mosca L, et al. Circulation 2007;115(11):1481-501.
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