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Annual ob.gyn. visit a ‘powerful opportunity’ to talk heart health



Cholesterol and other traditional risk factors associated with hyperlipidemia should be checked every 4-6 years and patients with elevated lipids should receive counseling on lowering their saturated fat intake and adding more dietary fiber. Statins are also an option for patients where diet does not lower lipids to appropriate levels, but authors noted “women of childbearing age need to be specifically counseled to not become pregnant while taking a statin.” The advisory also recommended speaking with patients about engaging in “150 min/wk of moderate-intensity physical activity, 75 min/wk of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity” as well as offering counseling and options for women who want to quit smoking.

The authors noted that only 45% of women consider heart disease a “leading cause of death” and most primary care providers do not see cardiovascular disease as a top health concern for women, focusing on risk factors such as weight and breast health.

“As the leading health care 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,” Haywood L. Brown, MD, past president of the ACOG and F. Bayard Carter Professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Duke University, Durham, N.C., said in a press release.

Dr. Gianos is a consultant and/or on the advisory board for Regeneron. Dr. Wenger reports research grants from Gilead Sciences, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Pfizer, and the Society for Women’s Health Research and is a consultant and/or on the advisory board for Amgen, AstraZeneca, Gilead Sciences, Janssen, and Merck.

SOURCE: Brown HL et al. Circulation. 2018 May 10. doi: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000582.


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