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Advancing Women’s Health

Cardiovascular Disease

Reduce the rates of heart-related death in your patients by following gender-based screening guidelines recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA).

Did you know?

  • 64% of women who die suddenly from heart disease have no previous symptoms2
  • Early identification of artherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk factors is crucial
  • 90% of women have one or more risk factors for ASCVD1
  • Traditional risk factors may be more potent in women than in men


Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) Prevention in Women: Can More Be Done?

By: Dorothy Adcock, MD and Haywood Brown, MD


Cardiovascular disease in women

A 2018 presidential advisory from the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) states that less than half of all primary care physicians consider cardiovascular disease (CVD) a top concern in women after breast health and weight.1 During child-bearing years, a majority of woman consider their OB/GYN to be their primary care physician.

Development of gender-based guidelines has led to—and if applied properly, can continue to lead to—a significant reduction in the rates of death among women.


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Group of women gathering and talking

Screening patients for cardiovascular disease

The 2019 guidelines for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease from the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the AHA offers guidance to clinicians who provide women’s healthcare based on age:

  • Ages 20-39: It is reasonable to assess traditional ASCVD risk factors at least every 4 to 6 years (specifically screen for diabetes, hypertension, and smoking and measure total cholesterol and HDL3
  • Ages 40-75: routinely assess traditional cardiovascular risk factors. Use race and sex - specific pooled cohort equations to calculate 10-year risk of a first ASCVD event and use this for cholesterol management with lifestyle guidelines3
  • Ages 20-39 (and 40-59 with ASCVD risk): 40-59 years of age who have ASCVD risk, estimate lifetime or 30-year ASCVD risk3


  1. Brown HL, Warner JJ, Gianos E, et al. Promoting risk identification and reduction of cardiovascular disease in women through collaboration with obstetricians and gynecologists: A presidential advisory from the American Heart Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Circulation. 2018;137(24):e843-e852.
  2. Common myths about heart disease. https://www.goredforwomen.org/en/about-heart-disease-in-omen/facts/common-myths-about-heart-disease. Accessed September 5, 2019.
  3. Arnett DK, Blumenthal RS, Albert MA, et al. 2019 ACC/AHA guideline on the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease: A report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on clinical practice guidelines. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2019.