Lifestyle Interventions for Hypertension and Dyslipidemia Among Women of Reproductive Age
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Lifestyle Interventions for Hypertension and Dyslipidemia Among Women of Reproductive Age

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    Hypertension and dyslipidemia often precede cardiovascular disease. Lifestyle modifications help prevent these conditions, and referrals for women may be possible during reproductive health care visits. However, screening recommendations vary, which may affect screening rates. The objectives of this systematic review were to 1) assess the available literature on the effectiveness of lifestyle interventions, 2) review hypertension and dyslipidemia screening recommendations for consistency, and 3) report prevalence data for hypertension and dyslipidemia screening among women of reproductive age.


    We conducted a systematic literature search (January 1990-November 2010) for 1) randomized controlled trials on the impact of lifestyle interventions on cardiovascular disease risk factors in women of reproductive age, 2) evidence-based guidelines on hypertension and dyslipidemia screening, and 3) population-based prevalence studies on hypertension or dyslipidemia screening or both.


    Twenty-one of 555 retrieved studies (4%) met our inclusion criteria. Lifestyle interventions improved lipid levels in 10 of 18 studies and blood pressure in 4 of 9 studies. Most guidelines recommended hypertension screening at least every 2 years and dyslipidemia screening every 5 years, but recommendations for who should receive dyslipidemia screening varied. One study indicated that 82% of women of reproductive age received hypertension screening during the preceding year. In another study, only 49% of women aged 20 to 45 years received recommended dyslipidemia screening.


    Lifestyle interventions may offer modest benefits for reducing blood pressure and lipids in this population. Inconsistency among recommendations for dyslipidemia screening may contribute to low screening rates. Future studies should clarify predictors of and barriers to cholesterol screening in this population.

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