A new scientific statement from the American Heart Association notes that the process falls short for those who are not white.
Non-biological factors and social determinants of health are important to include in cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk assessments for women, especially those who are form diverse races and ethnic backgrounds, according to a statement published by the American Heart Association (AHA) published in Circulation.
“Risk assessment is the first step in preventing heart disease, yet there are many limitations to traditional risk factors and their ability to comprehensively estimate a woman’s risk for [CVD],” Jennifer Mieres, MD, FAHA, vice chair of the scientific statement writing committee and a professor of cardiology at the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra Northwell in Hempstead, New York, said in a statement.
The large data normally used to develop cardiovascular risk assessment formulas or algorithms are not racially and technically diverse, so they are not always representative of underrepresented groups, investigators said.
The AHA statement comes as a response to the presidential advisory as a review of evidence for CVD risk factors for ethnically and racially diverse women in the United States.
In addition to traditional risk factors, assessments for CVD risk should include those that are specific to females, including autoimmune disorders, depression, history of chemotherapy or radiation therapy, menstrual cycle history, polycystic ovarian syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, pregnancy-related conditions, and types of birth control.
The authors of the statement included the following factors:
Future CVD guidelines could be strengthened by culturally specific lifestyle recommendations based on cultural expectations and norms that influence attitudes, behavior, and beliefs related to diet, healthy weight, and physical activity.
The authors also called for more research to address these gaps in knowledge about risk factors among women, including data specific to subgroups for ethnicity and race.
Non-biological factors and social determinants of health important in women’s CVD risk assessment. News release. EurekAlert. April 10, 2023. Accessed April 12, 2023. https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/985273