Women Are Not Meeting AHA Guidelines

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Women at the greatest risk for heartattack and death from heart diseasealong with dangerously high cholesterollevels are not receiving the benefits fromlifesaving cholesterol drugs. "Cholesterolmanagement in high-risk women hasbeen proven to save lives and reduce riskof heart attacks. We wanted to determinewhat opportunities exist to apply the 2004American Heart Association [AHA] guidelinesfor cardiovascular disease preventionin women, especially in a managedcare environment,"reported lead authorLori Mosca, MD, PhD, in Circulation: TheJournal of the American Heart Association(February 1, 2005).

The AHA guidelines recommendedlow-density lipoprotein (LDL; "bad") cholesterolfall under 100 mg/dL, or highdensitylipoprotein (HDL; "good") cholesterolbe >50 mg/dL, triglycerides be <150mg/dL, or non-HDL (a combination of allbad forms of cholesterol) be <130 mg/dL.

For the study, the researchers looked ata managed care database of 1.1 millionand found 8353 women who had heartdisease at the beginning of the 3-yearstudy or were at greater risk because ofdiabetes or cardiac risk factors and hadnot recently been on cholesterol-loweringtherapy. The researchers tracked the laboratoryand pharmacy information for theparticipants to decide how physiciansmanaged their care. The researchers thendetermined how many participantsachieved the targeted levels based on theAHA's guidelines for women.

"We found only 7% of these high-riskwomen had optimal levels of all cholesterolmeasurements at the start of thestudy. This improved to 12% after 3years, still far short of where we wouldlike to see these high-risk women,"saidDr. Mosca. "We also found that onlyabout one third of women were receivingcholesterol-lowering medications, suchas statin therapy, as recommended bynational guidelines."

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