Advertisment

Reducing Long-Term Cardiovascular Disease Risks After Pregnancy: A New Emphasis from the American Heart Association

author-image
Dr. Jessica Nelson
New Update
NULL

Reducing Long-Term Cardiovascular Disease Risks After Pregnancy: A New Emphasis from the American Heart Association

Advertisment

The Importance of Monitoring Postpartum Cardiovascular Health

Advertisment

In a newly released scientific statement, the American Heart Association (AHA) has underscored the necessity of screening and monitoring women during the first year after delivery to mitigate long-term cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and optimize cardiovascular (CV) health post-pregnancy. This period is a critical window to assess future CVD risk and introduce lifestyle modifications that can enhance maternal cardiovascular health, potentially influencing the cardiovascular well-being of offspring.

Pregnancy Complications and Long-Term Cardiovascular Risk

The statement draws attention to the increased risk of heart disease and stroke associated with pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia, preterm birth, and gestational diabetes. These adverse pregnancy outcomes (APOs) have been linked with heightened incidence of CVD risk factors following delivery. The AHA, consequently, emphasizes the importance of early identification and management of these risk factors.

Advertisment

A Practical Approach for Healthcare Providers

The AHA advises clinicians to inquire about pregnancy history and complications when assessing a woman's CV risk. This information can guide healthcare providers in educating and counseling patients, and advising them on when to screen for risk factors. The statement also reviews current evidence on interpregnancy and postpartum preventive strategies, blood pressure management, and lifestyle interventions for optimizing CVD health using the AHA’s Life's Essential 8 framework.

The Need for Postpartum CVD Risk Factor Screening

Advertisment

The AHA statement brings to light the need for postpartum CVD risk factor screening after an adverse pregnancy outcome. It also points out the lack of evidence-based approaches for managing these patients post-pregnancy to reduce CVD risk. Future research should aim to improve screening for subclinical CVD in individuals with a history of adverse pregnancy outcomes, even before the onset of symptomatic disease.

Addressing Social Determinants of Health

The AHA statement calls for policy-level changes that address social determinants of health, particularly in resource-limited areas. Disparities by race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and geography contribute to prenatal CVD risk factors and outcomes. Therefore, further research on interventions to mitigate short-term and long-term CVD risks associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes is essential. There is also a need to raise awareness about the importance of cardiovascular health in the postpartum period, especially in women who have experienced adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Conclusion

This scientific statement from the AHA underlines the urgent need for improved post-pregnancy care to reduce long-term CVD risk. It advocates for a more comprehensive approach that includes risk factor screening, patient education, lifestyle interventions, and policy-level changes. The ultimate goal is to optimize cardiovascular health after pregnancy, reduce future pregnancy complications, and in turn, improve the overall cardiovascular health across the life course.

Advertisment
Chat with Dr. Medriva !