Lifestyle Strategies for Risk Factor Reduction, Prevention, and Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease
Daily habits and actions powerfully affect the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), in general, and coronary heart disease, in particular. Regular physical activity, sound nutrition, weight management, and not smoking cigarettes have all been demonstrated to significantly reduce the risk of CVD. In 2 large cohort studies a reduction of risk of CVD of >80% and diabetes >90% were demonstrated in individuals who followed a cluster of these lifestyle practices. The study of the impact of lifestyle factors on CVD risk has coalesced under the framework of ìlifestyle medicine.î Despite the overwhelming evidence that lifestyle factors affect CVD, a distinct minority of individuals are following these practices. The American Heart Association estimates that only 5% of individuals follow all of these lifestyle factors as components of a strategy to achieve ìidealî cardiovascular health. The challenge to the medical and health care communities is to more aggressively incorporate this information into the daily practices of medicine.