Effectiveness-Based Guidelines for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in Women — 2011 Update: A Guideline from the American Heart Association
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Effectiveness-Based Guidelines for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in Women — 2011 Update: A Guideline from the American Heart Association

  • March 22, 2011

  • Source: Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2011; 57(12):1404-23.
Filetype[PDF-847.73 KB]



  • Alternative Title:
    Journal of the American College of Cardiology
  • Description:
    Substantial progress has been made in the awareness, treatment, and prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in women since the first women-specific clinical recommendations for the prevention of CVD were published by the American Heart Association (AHA) in 1999. The myth that heart disease is a “man’s disease” has been debunked; the rate of public awareness of CVD as the leading cause of death among US women has increased from 30% in 1997 to 54% in 2009. The age-adjusted death rate resulting from coronary heart disease (CHD) in females, which accounts for about half of all CVD deaths in women, was 95.7 per 100 000 females in 2007, a third of what it was in 1980. Approximately 50% of this decline in CHD deaths has been attributed to reducing major risk factors and the other half to treatment of CHD including secondary preventive therapies. Major randomized controlled clinical trials such as the Women’s Health Initiative have changed the practice of CVD prevention in women over the past decade. The investment in combating this major public health issue for women has been significant, as have the scientific and medical achievements. Despite the gains that have been made, considerable challenges remain. In 2007, CVD still caused ≈1 death per minute among women in the United States. These represent 421,918 deaths, more women’s lives than were claimed by cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, Alzheimer disease, and accidents combined. Reversing a trend of the past 4 decades, CHD death rates in US women 35 to 54 years of age now actually appear to be increasing, likely because of the effects of the obesity epidemic. CVD rates in the United States are significantly higher for black females compared with their white counterparts (286.1/100 000 versus 205.7/100 000). This disparity parallels the substantially lower rate of awareness of heart disease and stroke that has been documented among black versus white women. Of concern is that in a recent AHA national survey, only 53% of women said the first thing they would do if they thought they were having a heart attack was to call 9-1-1. This distressing lack of appreciation by many women for the need for emergency care for acute cardiovascular events is a barrier to optimal survival among women and underscores the need for educational campaigns targeted to women.
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