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Curr Vasc Pharmacol. 2016;14(5):442-451.

The Mediterranean and other Dietary Patterns in Secondary Cardiovascular Disease Prevention: A Review.

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Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, School of Health Science and Education, Harokopio University, Athens, Greece.


Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) remains the leading cause of death and disability worldwide, with increased hospital discharge rates, causing a serious public health issue and an economic burden. Recent demographic transitions, including ageing of the population, low fertility, urbanization and shift towards unhealthy behaviours have resulted in an increase in the prevalence of cardiometabolic disorders (i.e. hypertension, obesity, diabetes). According to the reports of international organisations, a substantial number of heart attacks could have been prevented through lifestyle modifications (i.e. diet, physical activity, smoking cessation). Regarding secondary prevention, it is well documented that effective cardiovascular rehabilitation requires a multidisciplinary approach, including medical treatment, as well as lifestyle changes. Diet has been recognised as one of the most important modifiable and preventable factors, being undoubtedly beneficial in primary prevention, as well as among cardiac patients. However, studies among CVD patients are scarce, and with inconclusive results. The most studied dietary pattern is the Mediterranean-type diet, with several observational studies and clinical trials demonstrating its protective role against recurrent cardiac events, whereas evidence regarding other well-known models, including Western-type, Vegetarian, Asian-type and Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, are more limited. The aim of this review was to present an overview of the most prevalent dietary patterns and their role in the secondary CVD prevention and management.

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