Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the leading cause of death in women in the United States and globally, with heart disease actually on the rise among middle-aged women in the United States. This disease burden can be reduced by prioritizing a preventive approach to cardiovascular health. The 2019 American College of Cardiology (ACC)/American Heart Association (AHA) Guideline on the Primary Prevention of CVD contains important updates for delivery of primary prevention and also highlights early menopause and pre-eclampsia as two female-specific risk factors that enhance CVD risk. Additionally other female-specific risk factors including early menarche, polycystic ovarian syndrome, multi-parity, other adverse pregnancy outcomes, and hormone therapy also influence women’s CVD risk throughout their lifespan. It is vital that both women and healthcare clinicians are made aware of this information as it has lifesaving potential. This review aims to (1) Introduce the key points of the 2019 ACC/AHA Guideline (2) Highlight the evidence for the female-specific risk factors for refining CVD risk assessment and (3) Discuss the impact of the female-specific risk enhancing factors on primary prevention interventions such as statin therapy. This approach will be able to more personalize risk assessment in women, with an emphasis on the importance of shared decision making in building authentic partnerships between clinicians and women patients throughout their lifespan.
© 2020 Published by Elsevier B.V.