The American Heart Association (AHA) has changed some of its guidelines for preventing cardiovascular disease in women to better address factors that may go ignored in some clinical settings.
The guidelines were originally published about 12 years ago and were largely based on research that was conducted during clinical trials, a setting that does not accurately reflect the average woman's health status or the care she receives.
“These recommendations underscore the fact that benefits of preventive measures seen day-to-day in doctors’ offices often fall short of those reported for patients in research settings,” said Lori Mosca, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., advisor for the AHA's Go Red For Women campaign.
One of the changes to prevention guidelines is that a woman who experiences complications during pregnancy has a risk factor equal to that of a woman who failed a stress test. New guidelines also recognize that certain racial or ethnic groups appear to be more prone to specific illnesses than others.
Furthermore, treatments like hormone replacement therapy and intake of antioxidants and folic acid that were previously recommended as preventative measures have been shown to be ineffective and possibly harmful to some women.
The AHA reports that while rates of death from cardiovascular disease in women have decreased by two-thirds in the past three decades, one woman still dies every minute in the United States from the condition.