Cardiovascular risk and women baby boomers

October 1, 2006

The lifestyles of many women baby boomers has now placed them at risk for cardiovascular disease, said Mary Elizabeth Roth, MD, Associate Chief Academic Officer, Geisinger Health System, Wilkes Barre, Pa.

The lifestyles of many women baby boomers has now placed them at risk for cardiovascular disease, said Mary Elizabeth Roth, MD, Associate Chief Academic Officer, Geisinger Health System, Wilkes Barre, Pa.

"Many women boomers have had largely sedentary lifestyles and routinely eaten prepared high-fat, high-carb, salted fast foods," she noted. "Women are now having heart disease at earlier age than in the past."

The classic cardiovascular risk factors-in addition to not exercising and having an atherogenic diet-are high LDL-cholesterol, low HDL-cholesterol (less than 40 mg/dL), diabetes, smoking, hypertension, family history (premature coronary artery disease in a first-degree relative), and age 55 and older.

However, physicians should also look out for emerging risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including high triglycerides, high-sensitive C-reactive protein, and metabolic syndrome, she said.

Metabolic syndrome is an especially important risk for cardiovascular disease in women and is often overlooked. A patient with metabolic syndrome has 2 or more of the following: hypertension, dyslipidemia, obesity, diabetes, and microalbumiuria.

Affected women form plaque faster and at a younger age. Also, people with metabolic syndrome are at higher risk of thrombus formation and are predisposed to plaque rupture, said Dr Roth.

Dr Roth recommends a resting ECG test for asymptomatic coronary artery disease.