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Wien Med Wochenschr. 2004 Jun;154(11-12):257-65.

[Risk management of coronary heart disease-prevention].

[Article in German]

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  • 1Institut für Sozialmedizin, Medizinische Universität Wien, Wien, Osterreich.


Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and is responsible for 45% of deaths in the western world and 24.5% of deaths in the developing countries. In the 21st century these diseases will continue to dominate the disease spectrum and death statistics in both the industrialised and developing worlds. Since 1975 mortality from cardiovascular disease has decreased by about 24 to 28% in most countries. About 45% of this reduction can be attributed to an improvement in treatment of coronary heart disease and around 55% are attributable to a reduction in risk factors, in particular, stopping smoking and control of hypertension. However, especially in the case of ischaemic heart disease, it is not clear whether the reduction in mortality reflects a reduction in incidence of this disease. Due to the aging population and the reduction in age-related mortality, it is expected that the absolute number of people with heart disease will increase. Furthermore, the increase in prevalence of obesity, metabolic syndrome, type II diabetes as well as the higher prevalence of female smokers compared with thirty years ago could result in an increase in mortality over the next years and decades. It has been shown that prevention strategies, such as education campaigns aimed at the general public, can potentially greatly contribute to a reduction in incidence of cardiovascular disease at every stage. In order for such campaigns to be effective, it is necessary to understand and reduce the risk factors for cardiovascular disease. A large proportion of these risk factors are associated with lifestyle and are therefore modifiable. These modifiable risk factors include smoking, hypertension, poor diet, dyslipidemia, lack of exercise, overweight, adiposity and diabetes mellitus and optimisation of these should be a key aim for all adults. Gender differences also play a role in the incidence and prevention of cardiovascular disease. Incidence of myocardial infarction in women increases significantly after the menopause, and mortality through coronary heart disease is higher amongst women than men. Hormonal status, use of oral contraceptives and pregnancy all influence risk for cardiovascular disease in women. Due to the enormity of the problem that cardiovascular disease presents to society and the great potential for management of risk factors for cardiovascular disease through preventive medicine, a number of health promotion and prevention programmes have been initiated by various national and global organisations. This paper presents an analysis of modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease together with a review of targeted prevention programmes aiming at reducing these risks.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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