Early identification and treatment of women's cardiovascular risk factors prevents cardiovascular disease, saves lives, and protects future generations: Policy recommendations and take action plan utilizing policy levers

Clin Cardiol. 2022 Sep 20. doi: 10.1002/clc.23921. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) including heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, and uncontrolled hypertension are leading causes of death among women of all ages. Despite efforts to increase awareness about CVD among women, over the past decade there has been stagnation in the reduction of CVD in women, and CVD among younger women and women of color has in fact increased. We recommend taking action using policy levers to address CVD in women including: (1) Promoting periodic screening for risk factors including blood pressure, lipids/cholesterol, diabetes for all women starting at 18-21 years, with calculated atherosclerotic CVD (ASCVD) risk score use among women 40 years or older. (2) Considering coronary artery calcium (CAC) screening for those with intermediate risk per current guidelines. (3) Enhancing Obstetrics and Gynecology and primary care physician education on reproductive age CVD risk markers, and that follow-up is needed, including extended postpartum follow-up. (4) Offering Health Coaching/motivational Interviewing to support behavior change. (5) Funding demonstration projects using different care models. (6) Creating a Stop High Blood Pressure consult line (for providers and patients) and providing other support resources with actions consumers can take, modeled after the California tobacco quit line. And (7) Requiring inclusion of adverse pregnancy outcomes in all Electronic Health Records, with reminder systems to follow-up on hypertension post-partum.

Keywords: cardiovascular; women.

Publication types

  • Review