Women and Heart Disease?

Women and Heart Disease?

What You Need to Know:

February is the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women month, a campaign to raise awareness about women’s cardiovascular health issues. On February 1st each year, supporters of this cause are encouraged to wear red to bring attention to the role of heart disease in women. Cardiovascular disease is the primary killer of women and claims the lives of one in three females annually, more than all types of cancers combined; yet, only one in five women believes it is her primary health risk.

Female cardiovascular disease is on the rise despite public initiatives to elevate awareness. Findings from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Surveillance study, recently published in the journal Circulation, demonstrated an alarming increase in the number of young women who suffered acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Participants included hospitalized male and female AMI patients between the ages of 35 and 84 years from four different communities. Surveillance was conducted over two decades, between 1995 and 2014. The results showed the annual incidence of AMI hospitalizations grew in the young female group and that young women with AMI were less likely to undergo an invasive procedure or receive evidence-based AMI treatments. Young black women were found to have the highest comorbidity burden in this population.

The authors of this study suggest several strategies to increase awareness and mitigate risk among women:

  • Design clinical trials for women to better understand cardiovascular risk and beneficial treatment plans
  • Create an integrated, comprehensive process to promote prevention strategies for at-risk women
  • Female-focused guidelines aimed at preventing cardiovascular disease should be updated and implemented in clinical practice
  • Public campaigns such as “Go Red for Women” should be expanded and disseminated through a variety of media outlets


Read about heart disease in women:

Hurst’s the Heart, 14e. Chapter 108. Women and Heart Disease: An Evolving Saga

CURRENT Medical Diagnosis and Treatment 2019: Chapter 10. Heart Disease > Heart Disease and Pregnancy

CURRENT Diagnosis and Treatment: Obstetrics and Gynecology, 12e. Chapter 61. Menopause and Postmenopause > Common Clinical Conditions of the Aged, Postmenopausal Women: Controversial Role of Hormone Therapy > Coronary Heart Disease