Call for Better Prevention
The American Heart Association
and American College of Cardiology are recommending new education
efforts and treatment programs to help women prevent heart disease.
According to a recent survey
by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health-care
professionals counsel women less often than men about nutrition,
exercise and weight management.
Statistics also show more
women are obese, and that about 25 percent of women report no
regular physical activity. And studies show smoking rates are
declining more among men than among women.
The groups are recommending
that cholesterol-lowering drugs be administered as a first line
of drug therapy instead of hormone replacement therapy to post-menopausal
women who need to lower blood cholesterol levels.
The Heart Association and
College of Cardiology also are recommending improved efforts to
identify women with diabetes who may be at risk for heart disease.
And, they say, the target blood level for high-density lipoprotein
cholesterol, the so-called "good" cholesterol, should be higher
than the national recommendations.
"Although more women die from
coronary heart disease than from cancer or any other disease,
we are missing many opportunities to reduce the risk of heart
disease in women," says Dr. Lori Mosca, a Heart Association member
and the director of preventive cardiology research and education
at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. "There is a substantial
gap between what we know and what we do to prevent heart disease
in women. Because these consensus recommendations are both scientifically
based and practical, they are an important step toward closing
This report appears in the
April 30/00 issue of Journal of the American College of Cardiology.