The past decade has witnessed a long overdue recognition of the importance of CVD in women, accompanied by an increasing awareness of gender differences in risk factors, natural history, preventive strategies, treatment, and prognosis of CVD. Reflecting the disease burden and the specific aspects of CVD in women, the American Heart Association has developed women-specific evidence-based guidelines and consensus documents for CVD prevention. The most recent update of these guidelines, published in 2011, is a milestone in the field and shows the rapidly evolving scenario of CVD prevention in women. We discuss some novel aspects of the 2011 update. The new guidelines change the focus from evidence-based to effectiveness-based, with consideration of both benefits and harms/costs of preventive interventions. The guidelines also introduce " ideal cardiovascular health" as the lowest category of risk, which implies the need of communitywide preventive, educational and policy initiatives to promote healthy lifestyles in the general population. Furthermore, the guidelines emphasize long-term overall CVD risk rather than short-term coronary risk. We also address several barriers and open questions in the evaluation and implementation of these guidelines, including how to increase the small proportion of women with ideal cardiovascular health; how to increase implementation and compliance with the recommendations; how to provide effectiveness-based recommendations for lifetime prevention goals based on short-term trials; how to obtain the best possible evidence in women; how to identify subgroups of women with different cardiovascular risk profiles or who may require tailored preventive strategies; and how to adapt current guidelines to international settings, particularly to low- and middle-income countries.
- Cardiovascular disease
- Clinical trials
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Nutrition and Dietetics
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine