Background: Lifestyle modification is recommended for patients with established cardiovascular diseases (CVD) or at high risk of CVD. In recent years, risk factor interventions in which multiple risk factors are addressed simultaneously are increasingly conducted. Aim: To determine, and if possible quantify, the efficacy of multifactorial lifestyle interventions (without drug therapy) in patients with established CVD or in high risk groups.
Methods: A literature search was conducted using ‘Pubmed’, to identify articles of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) or reviews of RCTs, published between 1990 and 2007.
Results: In patients with established CVD, multifactorial lifestyle interventions can reduce the occurrence of cardiovascular diseases and/or mortality, even many years after the end of the intervention. Further, in both patients and high risk groups, multifactorial lifestyle interventions have favorable effects on biological risk factors and lifestyle and are able to reduce the incidence of diabetes. In the long-term, in particular lifestyle changes seem to persist, such as improved dietary habits and increased physical activity, while the favorable effects on biological risk factors, such as body weight and blood pressure, are no longer different from the control group. Regular contact with the participants seems to be part of the “success factor”.
Conclusion: It can be recommended to offer patients with established CVD as well as individuals at high risk of CVD a comprehensive lifestyle advice, as part of their medical treatment, combined with intensive counseling.
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