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Invited Commentary
September 16, 2020

Can We Improve Cardiovascular Disease for Women Using Data Under Our Noses?A Need for Changes in Policy and Focus

Author Affiliations
  • 1Barbra Streisand Women's Heart Center, Cedars-Sinai Smidt Heart Institute, Los Angeles, California
JAMA Cardiol. 2020;5(12):1398-1400. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2020.4117

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the leading cause of death among women, resulting in 418 665 deaths in 2016 and accounting for 1 in every 4 female deaths in the US.1 There are important sex and gender differences in CVD between women and men, which contribute to diagnostic, prognostic, and treatment uncertainty resulting in suboptimal CVD care in women. Understanding and addressing these sex and gender differences is an opportunity to improve human health for both women and men. Notably, 86% of US women have had at least 1 pregnancy, and prior work consistently identifies that the 1 in 5 pregnancies with adverse pregnancy outcomes (APOs), such as gestational hypertensive disorders, including preeclampsia, elevate risk for future CVD in women.2 In short, a risk factor readily found in nearly all women—literally under our collective noses—might be harnessed for relevant, sex-specific atherosclerotic CVD (ASCVD) risk information to address the preventive, diagnostic, and treatment gaps that adversely affect women.

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