Practical medical advice that works in the "real world" may more effectively prevent cardiovascular disease in women than recommendations based only on findings in clinical research settings, according to the 2011 update to the American Heart Association's cardiovascular disease prevention guidelines for women.
First published in 1999, the guidelines until now have been primarily based on findings observed in clinical research. That alone often doesn't consider the personal and socioeconomic factors that can keep women from following medical advice and treatment.
"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., chair of the guidelines writing committee and a medical advisor for the American Heart Association's Go Red For Women movement. "Many women seen in provider practices are older, sicker, and experience more side effects than patients in research studies. Factors such as poverty, low literacy level, psychiatric illness, poor English skills, and vision and hearing problems can also challenge clinicians trying to improve their patients' cardiovascular health."
The 2011 update identifies barriers that hinder both patients and doctors from following guidelines, while outlining key strategies for addressing those obstacles.
"Awareness continues to be a key driver to optimal care," said Mosca, director of preventive cardiology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and professor of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. "Cause initiatives such as Go Red for Women and provider compliance programs such as Get With The Guidelines are strong components in our efforts to broaden awareness and improve adherence among patients and providers."
She said getting a dialogue started between a woman and her doctor is a critical first step.
"If the doctor doesn't ask the wom
|Contact: Cathy Lewis|
American Heart Association