The American Heart Association’s Guidelines for Women
- Established coronary heart disease
- Cerebrovascular disease (eg, stroke)
- Peripheral artery disease
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm
- Chronic kidney disease
- A high 10-year Framingham global risk score (over 10% chance of developing CVD)
- Elevated or high blood pressure
- Dyslipidemia (cholesterol problems or high triglycerides)
- Poor diet
- Physical inactivity
- Family history of CVD (eg, CVD less than age 55 in a male relative, CVD less than age 65 in a female relative)
- Metabolic syndrome (combination of usually mild to moderate hypertension, dyslipidemia, overweight, as well as pre-diabetes)
- Evidence of subclinical (asymptomatic) vascular disease (eg, coronary calcification)
- Poor exercise capacity on treadmill test and/or abnormal heart rate after stopping exercise
- Systemic autoimmune collagen-vascular disease (eg, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis)
- History of pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, or pregnancy-induced hypertension
Making Changes for Your Heart
- Do not smoke and avoid secondhand smoke. If you do smoke, talk to your doctor about strategies to quit.
- Get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes a week of vigorous exercise.
- Eat a healthy diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and fiber. Twice a week try to include fish in your diet. Limit saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and sodium.
- Drink alcohol only in moderation. Women should have no more than one alcoholic drink per day.
- If you are overweight, lose weight. Try to maintain a healthy weight for you.
At Risk for CVD
- Aiming for an optimal blood pressure reading (<120/80 mmHg) and taking blood pressure medicine if needed
- Aiming for healthy cholesterol levels (talk to your doctor about what ideal levels are for you) and taking cholesterol medicine if needed
- Controlling diabetes with diet, exercise, and medicine
- Starting aspirin therapy or other medicines if your doctor recommends them
American Heart Association http://www.americanheart.org
Go Red for Women American Heart Association http://www.goredforwomen.org/
Canadian Cardiovascular Society http://www.ccs.ca/home/index%5Fe.aspx/
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada http://www.heartandstroke.com/
Estimate of 10-year risk for coronary heart disease Framingham point scores. National Cholesterol Education Program. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/cholesterol/risk%5Ftbl.htm#women. Accessed February 22, 2007.
Fish oils in heart cells can block dangerous heart rhythms. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3012101. Accessed February 22, 2007.
How is blood cholesterol diagnosed? Diseases and Conditions Index. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/Hbc/HBC%5FDiagnosis.html. Accessed February 22, 2007.
Mosca L, Benjamin EJ, Berra K, et al. Effectiveness-based guidelines for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in women—2011 update: a guideline from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2011;123:1-20.
What is high blood pressure? Diseases and Conditions Index. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/Hbp/HBP%5FWhatIs.html. Accessed February 22, 2007.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 05/2011 -
- Update Date: 05/24/2011 -