The American Heart Association's Guidelines for Women
- Established coronary heart disease
- Cerebrovascular disease, which can lead to a stroke
- Peripheral artery disease
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm
- Chronic kidney disease
- A high 10-year Framingham global risk score (over 10% chance of developing CVD)
- Elevated or high blood pressure
- Dyslipidemia (cholesterol problems or high triglycerides)
- Poor diet
- Physical inactivity
- Family history of CVD
- Metabolic syndrome (a combination of elevated blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, and being overweight)
- Evidence of subclinical (asymptomatic) vascular disease, such as coronary calcification
- Poor exercise capacity on treadmill test and/or abnormal heart rate after stopping exercise
- Systemic autoimmune collagen-vascular disease, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis
- History of pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, or pregnancy-induced hypertension
Making Changes for Your Heart
- Do not smoke and avoid secondhand smoke. If you do smoke, talk to your doctor about strategies to quit.
- Get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes a week of vigorous exercise.
- Eat a healthy diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and fiber. Twice a week try to include fish in your diet. Limit saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and sodium.
- Drink alcohol only in moderation. Women should have no more than one alcoholic drink per day.
- If you are overweight, talk to your doctor about strategies to lose weight. Try to maintain a healthy weight for you.
At Risk for CVD
- Aiming for an optimal blood pressure reading (<120/80 mmHg) and taking blood pressure medication if needed
- Aiming for healthy cholesterol levels (talk to your doctor about what ideal levels are for you) and taking cholesterol medication if needed
- Controlling diabetes with diet, exercise, and medication
- Starting aspirin therapy or other medications if your doctor recommends them
American Heart Association http://www.heart.org
Go Red for Women American Heart Association http://www.goredforwomen.org
Canadian Cardiovascular Society http://www.ccs.ca
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada http://www.heartandstroke.com
American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) guidelines for secondary prevention of coronary artery disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated June 3, 2013. Accessed September 9, 2013.
Estimate of 10-year risk for coronary heart disease Framingham point scores. National Cholesterol Education Program. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/cholesterol/risk%5Ftbl.htm#women. Accessed September 9, 2013.
Explore high blood cholesterol. Diseases and Conditions Index. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbc. Accessed September 12, 2012. Accessed September 9, 2013.
Explore high blood pressure. Diseases and Conditions Index. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/Hbp/HBP%5FWhatIs.html. Updated August 2, 2012. Accessed September 9, 2013.
Mosca L, Benjamin EJ, Berra K, et al. Effectiveness-based guidelines for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in women—2011 update: a guideline from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2011;123(11):1243-1262.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 09/2013 -
- Update Date: 00/90/2013 -