Review of the American Heart Association’s guidelines for cardiovascular disease prevention in women

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Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death of women in the United States and most of the developed world. The latest available data from the World Health Organization indicate that 16.6 million people around the globe die of CVD each year. World deaths from coronary heart disease (CHD) in 2002 totalled 7.2 million. One in seven women in Europe will die of CHD; in the United Kingdom > 1.2 million women are living with CHD. Despite advances in diagnosing and treating CHD, the disease accounts for the majority of CVD deaths in women in the United States, with more than 240 000 dying annually. Although coronary heart disease is the predominant cause of mortality for adult women in the United States, screening for coronary risk factors and coronary risk reduction interventions remains underused in women. In February of 2004, the American Heart Association published the first evidence-based guidelines for CVD prevention in women, consisting of a set of clinical recommendations tailored to a woman’s individual level of risk.

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