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About the WISEWOMAN Program

About WISEWOMAN

Background

The WISEWOMAN (Well-Integrated Screening and Evaluation for WOMen Across the Nation) program is located at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, within the Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention (DHDSP). WISEWOMAN consists of 22 CDC-funded WISEWOMAN programs in 21 states (2 programs in Alaska) and tribal organizations. Through these 22 programs, WISEWOMAN provides screening for heart disease and stroke risk factors and lifestyle programs for many low-income, uninsured, or under-insured women aged 40–64 years.

The purposes of the WISEWOMAN program are: 1) assuring that cardiovascular screening is provided to women ages 40-64 who are participants in the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP); 2) working with community-based organizations to provide evidence-based prevention services to those women in need of them (through agreements with organizations such as the YMCA, Weight Watchers, and those that provide Diabetes Primary Prevention Programs); 3) improving the management and control of hypertension by integrating innovative health system-based approaches and strengthening community-clinical linkages (such as team-based care and pharmacy medication management programs); and 4) gathering and reporting program related evaluation data, including impact measures.

The WISEWOMAN program focuses on reducing cardiovascular disease risk factors among high-risk women. Addressing risk factors such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, obesity, inactivity, diabetes, and smoking greatly reduces a woman’s risk of CVD-related illness and death.

CDC Program Activity

CDC's state-based National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) offers an established framework that provides the opportunity to target other chronic diseases among women, including heart disease, the leading cause of death among women. Women who are eligible for the NBCCEDP are also eligible for WISEWOMAN. Although more than half of all deaths from heart disease and stroke occur in women, heart disease in women is often diagnosed at an advanced stage. Addressing risk factors such as elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, diabetes, and smoking greatly reduces a woman's risk of cardiovascular disease-related illness and death.

Why is WISEWOMAN Important?

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. In 2009, 292,188 women died from it—that's 1 in every 4 female deaths.
  • Although heart disease is sometimes thought of as a "man's disease," around the same number of women and men die each year of heart disease in the United States. Despite increases in awareness over the past decade, only 54% of women recognize that heart disease is their number 1 killer.
  • One of 3 female adults have some form of cardiovascular disease.
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women of most racial/ethnic groups in the United States, including African Americans, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Hispanics, and whites. For Asian American women, heart disease is second only to cancer.
  • Almost two-thirds of the women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have no previous symptoms. Even if you have no symptoms, you may still be at risk for heart disease.

Source: Women and Heart Disease Fact Sheet, Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention.

WISEWOMAN Accomplishments

From July 2008 to June 2010 WISEWOMAN has

  • Provided almost 78,000 screenings to women for heart disease and stroke risk factors. Eighty-nine percent of WISEWOMAN participants were found to have one or more risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
  • Provided health care referrals to all participants who needed them and more than 43,000 women or about 61% of women screened participated in at least one lifestyle program session. During this time, the number of women participating in lifestyle programs increased by 55%.

According to this most recent data, WISEWOMAN participants were found to have the following health risk factors:

  • 39% had high blood pressure and an additional 29% had prehypertension.
  • 30% had high blood cholesterol and 23% had borderline high cholesterol.
  • 16% had diabetes and 14% had prediabetes.
  • 27% smoked.
  • 45% were obese and 27% were overweight.

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