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Women's Heart Health Initiative

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Many people think that heart attacks are strictly a men’s health problem. Yet heart disease is the number one killer of women.

Abbott, through its Women’s Heart Health Initiative (WHHI), is working to help women – and their doctors – understand the dangers of cardiovascular disease (CVD). And they’re starting with the doctors many women often trust the most: their OB-GYNs. Our Women’s Heart Health Initiative helps these key healthcare providers identify people at risk, so that CVD can be treated earlier – and more lives saved.

Abbott, in collaboration with the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI), developed a convenient, one-page screening tool to help OB-GYNs screen their patients for heart disease risk factors. OB-GYNs are often in the best position to identify women at risk for heart disease, make sure they are aware of their risk factors and encourage them to monitor their heart health actively. Interestingly, complications during a woman’s childbearing history – can reveal important clues about her heart health, even in later life.

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PREGNANCY COMPLICATIONS RAISE RISK OF CVD
“Women who have suffered preeclampsia during pregnancy should be instructed on their high risk of heart disease by their OB-GYNs, since they face double the risk of heart disease and stroke later in life," says Eleni Tsigas, Executive Director, Preeclampsia Foundation.

Beyond its OB-GYN outreach, Abbott also offers patient handouts tailored to women of color, brochures in English and Spanish and information for pregnant women and post-menopausal women. In addition, a Women’s Vascular Health iPad app arms practitioners with an easy-to-use assessment tool. In recognition of this unique program involving outreach with OB-GYNs through WHHI, Abbott was honored with the prestigious Wenger Award, presented annually by WomenHeart, the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease.

Meanwhile, the challenge of building awareness goes on around the world, including in developing nations such as India and Malaysia. Data suggests that up to 60 percent of the world’s heart disease occurs in India – yet many women are unaware of their risk factors for heart disease.

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FINDING THE UPSIDE IN WOMEN’S HEART HEALTH Many women are so busy taking care of others that they don’t worry about their own heart health. Yet heart disease is the number one cause of death for women. How could Abbott help to raise awareness of cardiovascular risks in women? By working through the medical professionals women trust most: their OB-GYNs. Our Women’s Heart Health Initiative introduced a simple screening tool that helps OB-GYNs work with patients to determine their heart risks – and refer them to specialists if needed. With innovative programs like WHHI, Abbott is helping to educate both women and their healthcare providers about the importance of good heart health. That’s the Upside.
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