What are 2 main strategies of CVD prevention?
There are 2 main strategies when it comes to CVD prevention. The first is known as primary prevention and involves patients who meet various risk factors but who have not yet developed clinically manifested cardiovascular disease. The second is known as secondary prevention and involves acting on patients with any form of CVD with the aim of preventing disease progression or further cardiovascular events.
In primary prevention, many risk factors have been identified as contributing to the development of CVD. Some factors are unchangeable, such as age, gender, genetic predisposition and a family history of cardiovascular disease. Other factors can be altered by the patient themselves such as smoking, lack of exercise, poor diet and excessive consumption of alcohol. These can be altered using lifestyle changes with the help of advice and further support without the need for medical intervention or medications. However, there are further risk factors which may require medications to control such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and diabetes. Therefore, the drug therapies which control these risk factors can be considered prophylactic towards cardiovascular disease. The main focus for primary prevention is on people who fall into the ‘high-risk category’, which includes patients without CVD but who have a combination of risk factors which puts them at high risk of developing CVD. Additionally, patients with a particularly high single risk factor, such as extremely elevated blood pressure, also require CVD primary prevention. Patients with a family history of CVD are also regularly monitored and risk assessed.