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General Prevention

It is becoming clear that all parts of society are at risk for diabetes, hypertension, obesity etc. and it is important to target information to meet the needs of the consumer, especially vulnerable, marginalized or underserviced populations. Social education programs that specially target disadvantaged neighbourhoods or communities may be of crucial impact in promoting cardiovascular health.

There are two main approaches to address cardiac risk factors in the population: clinical and population based. The focus of the clinical approach is on people at high risk and who are in need of intensive clinical interventions. In contrast, the population approach aspires to shift the distribution in the population to a lower level, and is dependent on public policy tools (example, higher tobacco taxes) and community health promotion programs[2].

As reported by Amberson et. al[1] at the clinical level, most guidelines encourage family physicians to use case finding approach to deal with the global risk of CHD by considering multiple risk factors at the same time. Unfortunately due to the lack of financial provision there is less incentive for physicians to spend  time on this risk modification strategy. The limited availability of dieticians in various parts of the country also decreases the level of optimal preventive care delivery. Patients who lack drug insurance or are in the lower income bracket will be less able to afford life-long therapy with anti-hypertensive or cholesterol lowering drugs.

As such, social education programs that specially target disadvantaged neighbourhoods or communities may be of crucial impact in promoting cardiovascular health. Overall, research supports that healthier lifestyles, including daily physical activity, not smoking, better diets, and low to moderate alcohol consumption provide a lower risk of IHD.

The Canadian Cardiovascular Society’s recommendations for prevention of heart disease are as follows:

  • Smoking

  • Alcohol

  • Exercise

  • Obesity and Diet

  • Antioxidants

  • Hypertension

  • Lipid Lowering

  • Aspirin

  • Diabetes

For more information, visit the Canadian Cardiovascular Society’s website.

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1. Amberson, B.L., (2000) Risk Factors and Primary Prevention of Ischemic Heart Disease in Women. Canadian Cardiovascular Society Consensus Conference: Women and Ischemic Heart Disease, October 2000: 4/1-4/25.

2. Abramov, D., Tamariz, M.G., Sever, J.Y., Christakis, G.T., Bhatnagar, G., Heenan, A.L., Goldman, B.S., Fremers, S.E., (2000) The Influence of Gender on the Outcome of Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery. The Society of Thoracic Surgeons, 70:800-6.

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