Program for Women's Cardiovascular Health
The number one health threat to women over the age of 25 is cardiovascular disease. Each year, six times as many women die of cardiovascular disease than breast cancer. This condition affects 10 percent of women between the ages of 45 and 64, and 1 in 4 women over 65 years of age—8 million women total. More women than men die each year from heart attacks, stroke and other cardiovascular conditions, yet women are less likely than men to receive appropriate care.
Research shows that women must be approached differently than men when it comes to cardiovascular health. Women's symptoms for cardiac and vascular disease may manifest differently, and in general, women develop the first signs of cardiovascular disease after menopause, which is about 10 years later than men.
Reducing cardiovascular disease and deaths
Important steps in reducing cardiovascular deaths in women include early detection of disease, treatment of risk factors and the implementation of evidence-based recommendations for primary and secondary prevention.
The Effectiveness-Based Guidelines for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in Women —2011 Update are guidelines published by the American Heart Association. These guidelines provide a formula for assessing and preventing cardiovascular disease and emphasize the incorporation of lifestyle modification as a top priority for preventing and decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease in women.
Developing a standard of care
The Program for Women's Cardiovascular Health at Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute is founded on the principles of identifying cardiovascular disease in women of all ages and providing care that's designed specifically for women.
Our physicians are dedicated to promoting women's awareness of cardiovascular health; addressing risk factors including stress, tobacco use, nutrition and exercise; and conducting research clinical trials to advance the knowledge of cardiovascular care for women.
The Program for Women's Cardiovascular Health is developing a standard of care that recognizes women as unique individuals and tailors treatment strategies for their specific cardiovascular needs.