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New Joint European Cardiovascular Prevention Guidelines

New Joint European Cardiovascular Prevention Guidelines are launched on 24 May 2016.

The highly anticipated document gives the latest advice on prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in individuals and populations. “The last 30 years have witnessed a decrease in deaths from CVD, mainly due to improved treatment of heart disease, and falls in cholesterol, blood pressure and smoking,” said Professor Massimo F. Piepoli, Chairperson of the guidelines Task Force. “This trend is partly offset by rising obesity and type 2 diabetes, and poor adherence to lifestyle changes.”

The document argues that CVD mortality rates could be halved by modest risk factor reduction. New scientific evidence has led to adapted target levels for important risk factors, such as blood pressure and lipids. Special attention has been dedicated to younger adults and to the elderly.

Reducing population risk by 1% would prevent 25 000 CVD cases and save €40 million per year in a single European country. Stronger laws and policies on food, physical activity and smoking are needed.

 The detrimental impact of air pollution on heart health is highlighted. Professor Piepoli said: “A healthy environment is essential for preventing CVD. Lawmakers need to take more responsibility for their nation’s wellbeing by taxing unhealthy choices and incentivising healthy ones.”

Novel recommendations are given for patients with rheumatoid arthritis, erectile dysfunction, and patients receiving treatment for cancer. Women with a history of pre-eclampsia, premature birth, polycystic ovary syndrome or gestational diabetes should be screened for diabetes and hypertension. CVD risk varies considerably between immigrant groups and ethnicity should be considered in CVD risk assessment.

The recommendations cover the entire spectrum of CVD prevention in individuals and populations. We all have a role to play to stop heart disease.