Annual well woman visit to the OB/GYN can keep your heart healthy

May 10, 2018, American Heart Association

Annual well woman exams by OB/GYNs provide a golden opportunity to evaluate a woman's heart health, according to a new joint advisory from the American Heart Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) which stresses the benefits of collaborative care between OB/GYN specialists and cardiologists.

As and stroke continue to be the leading causes of death in , the advisory notes the essential role OB/GYNs play in actively helping women reduce their risk, since approximately 90 percent of women have at least one risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

"OB/GYNs are primary care providers for many women, and the annual 'well woman' visit provides a powerful opportunity to counsel patients about achieving and maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle, which is a cornerstone of maintaining " said John Warner, M.D. president of the American Heart Association, executive vice president for Health System Affairs at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.

Traditional risk factors for heart disease—such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity—affect both sexes but some may affect women differently and are considered to be more significant.

OB/GYN's are uniquely qualified to identify and treat woman-specific conditions and treatments that may raise a woman's risk of heart disease or stroke. Complications of pregnancy, including preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, gestational hypertension, pre-term delivery, and low-for-estimated-gestational-age birth weight all indicate a subsequent increase in the mother's cardiovascular risk.

"As the leading healthcare providers for women, OB-GYNs provide care that goes far beyond reproductive health and are in a unique position to screen, counsel and educate patients on heart health. By acknowledging and discussing the risks and communicating steps women can take to reduce their odds of developing heart disease. OB-GYNs have a powerful opportunity to be the secret weapon in the fight against heart disease," said Haywood L. Brown, M.D., immediate past president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and F. Bayard Carter Professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina.

Adverse pregnancy outcomes can be used to identify women who are at an increased risk for heart disease, even in those for whom the conditions resolve after delivery. Preeclampsia and gestational hypertension impart a three- to six-fold excess of subsequent hypertension and a two-fold risk for subsequent disease.

As cardiovascular continues to be the leading cause of death in women, the advisory provides recommendations on how cardiologists and OB/GYN providers can work collaboratively, using both low-tech solutions, such as advising patients about healthy diet and lifestyle at every visit, and high-tech solutions such as software algorithms that can trigger patient education and referrals by analyzing data contained in electronic medical records.

By providing a platform for comprehensive well-woman care, primary prevention and early intervention, providers of women's health can provide patient education, empowerment and motivation.

Explore further: Marked increase in cardiovascular risk factors in women after preeclampsia

Related Stories

Marked increase in cardiovascular risk factors in women after preeclampsia

February 28, 2018
Women diagnosed with preeclampsia during pregnancy were significantly more likely to develop high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol within five years compared with women who did not have preeclampsia, in a study ...

What younger women need to know about heart disease

March 5, 2018
(HealthDay)—Heart disease used to be thought of as a man's issue, but women are unfortunately catching up.

Most U.S. women don't know their personal risk for heart disease, poll finds

February 1, 2018
High cholesterol, diabetes and obesity can all lead to heart disease and stroke. But most American women don't know if they're at risk, a new poll finds.

Heart defects in infant may predict heart problems in birth mother later in life

April 2, 2018
Women who give birth to infants with congenital heart defects may have an increased risk of cardiovascular hospitalizations later in life, according to new research in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation.

Premature birth associated with increased risk of heart disease in mothers

January 24, 2018
A study led by researchers at Keele University has found the risk of death in later life due to coronary heart disease doubles in women who give birth prematurely.

Pregnant Asian women who develop high blood pressure at highest risk for heart failure hospitalization

November 14, 2017
Women who develop high blood pressure during pregnancy are more likely to experience heart problems within a few years of giving birth, according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific ...

Recommended for you

Proteins cooperate to break up energy structures in oxygen starved heart cells

November 19, 2018
During a heart attack, the supply of oxygen to heart cells is decreased. This reduced oxygen level, called hypoxia, causes the cell's powerhouses, the mitochondria, to fragment, impairing cell function and leading to heart ...

Bullying and violence at work increases the risk of cardiovascular disease

November 19, 2018
People who are bullied at work or experience violence at work are at higher risk of heart and brain blood vessel problems, including heart attacks and stroke, according to the largest prospective study to investigate the ...

Genetic analysis links obesity with diabetes, coronary artery disease

November 16, 2018
A Cleveland Clinic genetic analysis has found that obesity itself, not just the adverse health effects associated with it, significantly increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease. The paper was published ...

Non-coding genetic variant could improve key vascular functions

November 15, 2018
Atherosclerotic disease, the slow and silent hardening and narrowing of the arteries, is a leading cause of mortality worldwide. It is responsible for more than 15 million deaths each year, including an estimated 610,000 ...

Study of two tribes sheds light on role of Western-influenced diet in blood pressure

November 14, 2018
A South American tribe living in near-total isolation with no Western dietary influences showed no increase in average blood pressure from age one to age 60, according to a study led by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg ...

Heart failure patients shouldn't stop meds even if condition improves: study

November 13, 2018
(HealthDay)—There's bad news for heart failure patients with dilated cardiomyopathy who'd like to stop taking their meds.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.