Lower coronary heart disease deaths by making several lifestyle changes

by Sarah Jorgenson

Lifestyle modification programs that addressed at least two health behaviors lowered the risk of a fatal heart attack or stroke in people with coronary heart disease, finds a new systematic review in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

In a meta-analysis of nine studies, with population sample sizes ranging from 57 to 1,621 patients, the researchers found an 18 percent reduction in the risk of death from coronary heart disease in people who participated in healthy lifestyle programs while receiving standard care versus people who received standard care alone.

"When you look at healthy lifestyles, you should be comprehensive in doing it because it is not enough to quit smoking if you have very bad dietary habits. So, the combination of lifestyle interventions could be more beneficial," said lead author Chiara de Waure, M.D., M.Sc., an assistant professor at the Institute of Public Health at the Catholic University of Sacred Heart in Rome, Italy.

Studies varied in program duration with follow-up periods from one to nineteen years. All of the lifestyle intervention programs included diet and nutrition advice and exercise advice or sessions. A number of the studies also provided advice or programs, while other studies also included stress management.

"These interventions that the authors discuss may also subsequently reduce the risk of cancer, respiratory disease, and diabetes, among other chronic diseases…If anything, they were likely to underestimate the potential benefit of lifestyle change in terms of chronic disease," commented Barry Franklin, Ph.D., professor of physiology at Wayne State University School of Medicine and director of the and exercise laboratories at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan.

Franklin added, "The study reiterates that the first line of defense for heart disease, that is, the most proximal risk factors, involves addressing poor diet, and cigarette smoking."

The review finds that are effective even in patients with established , whether they had symptoms or not, and may lower the risk of non-fatal heart attack and stroke and hospital readmission.

"Sometimes when a patient develops a disease, he may think that his world is over, that there is no way to improve through lifestyles because he has already had the event, but we are showing that continue to be important even after the onset of disease," said de Waure.

More information: Chiara de Waure, C. et al. (2013). Lifestyle Interventions in Patients with Coronary Heart Disease: A Systematic Review, American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Related Stories

Smoking cessation, weight gain, and subsequent CHD risk

date Jul 02, 2013

The authors used data from the Women's Health Initiative to assess the association between smoking cessation, weight gain, and subsequent coronary heart disease risk among postmenopausal women with and without diabetes.

Recommended for you

A-fib recurrence common five years after ablation

date 9 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Most patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) and systolic heart failure who undergo ablation have AF recurrence at five years, according to a study published in the April issue of the Journal of ...

Applied physics helps decipher the causes of sudden death

date 13 hours ago

Sudden cardiac death accounts for approximately 10% of natural deaths, most of which are due to ventricular fibrillation. Each year, it causes 300,000 deaths in the United States and 20,000 in Spain. Researchers have demonstrated ...

Cognitive problems are common after cardiac arrest

date 13 hours ago

Half of all patients who survive a cardiac arrest experience problems with cognitive functions such as memory and attention. This has been shown by a major international study led from Lund University. Surprisingly, however, ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.