An annual wellness exam performed by an OB/GYN can be used to evaluate a woman’s heart health, according to a new joint advisory statement from the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists published in Circulation.1
The joint advisory statement encourages the collaboration between cardiologists and OB/GYNs to counsel women about maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle. Heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death in women, and approximately 90% of women have at least one risk factor for either disease. Common risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and obesity, all of which affect women differently than men.
Pregnancy complications, including preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, gestational hypertension, preterm delivery, and low-for-estimated-gestational-age birth weight, may indicate an increase in cardiovascular risk for the mother.
Pregnancy complications can be used by OB/GYNs to identify and advise women of their risk for heart disease or 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 heat heart,” said John Warner, MD, president of the AHA, executive vice president for Health System Affairs at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, in an AHA press release.2
- Brown HL, Warner JJ, Gianos E, et al; on behalf of the American Heart Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Promoting risk identification and reduction of cardiovascular disease in women through collaboration with obstetricians and gynecologists. A Presidential Advisory from the American Heart Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists [published online May 10, 2018]. Circulation. doi:10.1161/CIR. 0000000000000582
- Annual well woman visit to the OB/GYN can keep your heart healthy [press release]. Dallas, Texas; American Heart Association; May 10, 2018. Accessed May 11, 2018.