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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Prevention of cardiovascular disease.

1. Major risk factors for coronary heart disease (CHD) are smoking, blood pressure and blood cholesterol and they interact in a multiplicative fashion. Family history of premature coronary heart disease and lack of exercise also contribute. Obesity increases risk probably mainly by its effect on blood cholesterol and blood pressure. Heavy alcohol consumption is a risk factor for stroke. 2. Prevention may be opportunistic or in specially organized clinics, the latter being less likely to result in the attendance of high risk individuals. 3. Worthwhile reductions in cigarette smoking can be achieved by brief advice and follow-up. Literature on smoking and other aspects of prevention is available from the district health education department. 4. Risk scores can be used to calculate the risk of coronary heart disease. They can help to indicate the advisability of measurement of blood cholesterol and to focus limited resources on those at highest risk by helping to define a 'special care group'. 5. Indications for measuring blood cholesterol are: a family history of premature coronary heart disease or hyperlipidaemia, personal history of coronary heart disease, clinical evidence of raised lipids (xanthelasma, corneal arcus under 50, xanthomas at any age), a high risk of coronary heart disease according to a risk score. Many would also include those under treatment for hypertension and diabetes. 6. Dietary advice can moderately reduce blood cholesterol. The proportion of calories from fat should be reduced from the current average of around 40% to a maximum of 33%. Dietary advice should be tailored to the patient's current diet. An increase in vegetables and fruit can be generally advocated. 7. Regular exercise has a worthwhile role to play in prevention. Rapid walking, jogging and swimming may all be suitable, as may be heavy gardening and housework. 8. A small proportion of patients may require lipid-lowering drugs. These include resins (cholestyramine and colestipol), fibrates (eg bezafibrate and gemfibrozil) and more recently HMG CoA inhibitors (eg simvastatin). The HMG CoA inhibitors produce large falls in cholesterol and may become first line drugs in future. Because of the current controversy about the effect of lipid-lowering drugs on total mortality, many believe that they should be reserved for those at the highest risk, for example patients with familial hypercholesterolaemia or with pre-existing coronary heart disease and a high plasma cholesterol (> 7.8 mmol/L). 9. The special care group defined by the practice should be offered regular follow-up.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)[1]


  1. Prevention of cardiovascular disease. Haines, A., Patterson, D., Rayner, M., Hyland, K. Occasional paper (Royal College of General Practitioners) (1992) [Pubmed]
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