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Ob-Gyns Should Play Role in Reducing CVD Risk for Women

THURSDAY, May 10, 2018 -- Obstetrician-gynecologists (ob-gyns) can help promote risk identification and reduction of cardiovascular disease among women at well-women visits, according to an American Heart Association/American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology presidential advisory published online May 10 in Circulation.

Haywood L. Brown, M.D., from Duke University in Durham, N.C., and colleagues address the continuing gender-based inequalities in cardiovascular mortality and morbidity. Despite significant improvements that have been seen among women in the past two decades, gender-based inequalities persist, with women less likely to receive guideline-recommended diagnostic testing and therapies.

The authors note that most women consider their ob-gyn to be their primary care physician. Furthermore, many of the life-span milestones for women, including pregnancy and menopause, impart unique effects on cardiovascular health. Consequently, the relationship with ob-gyns and well-woman visits could be leveraged to optimize risk reduction initiatives, reduce long-term health care costs, and provide comprehensive care for women. The role of ob-gyns could increase as the coordinator of women's health care. The annual well-woman visit provides an opportunity to counsel patients about heart disease and associated risk factors, and should include a thorough family history, screening for risk factors, and lifestyle counseling to prevent cardiovascular events; ideally this should begin early in life.

"A partnership with an ob-gyn to optimize early identification and modification of risk factors for heart disease and stroke can be a critical element in improving women's health," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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Posted: May 2018