Preventive Cardiology: Prevention and Early Detection

Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of mortality worldwide and that is why cardiology specialists have turned to try to prevent the development of these diseases by acting at all levels to avoid future disabilities.

What is Preventive Cardiology?

Preventive cardiology is an approach to cardiology where we not only treat patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases, which could lead to disabilities, but we also put all our efforts into preventing them from developing.

In the first step we have primary prevention in healthy patients without risk factors, promoting healthy habits such as a balanced diet and physical exercise, as well as educating patients to reduce harmful habits such as the consumption of toxic substances or excess salt or refined sugars in meals. Subsequently, in the next step we have primary prevention, which is exercised in those patients who have one or more risk factors, such as hypertension or cholesterol, and what we do is to control their risk factors so that they do not progress to more serious cardiovascular diseases, such as ischemic heart disease or stroke. When these diseases appear, we enter into secondary prevention, which consists of preventing the progression or recurrence of these conditions and avoiding disability. Finally, there is tertiary prevention, which focuses on trying to rehabilitate or readapt the patient when a disease has already caused disability.

To which patients is preventive cardiology recommended?

Everyone! Health promotion as part of a primary prevention strategy should be carried out at the community level, even in healthy populations, in order to avoid misinformation and the practice of toxic or dangerous habits.

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Those patients suffering from cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol or smoking are, mainly, our target audience in which the benefit will be more noticeable and in whom we urgently need to intervene to avoid the development of established cardiovascular diseases.

What are the main objectives of preventive cardiology?

  • To preserve the function and autonomy of the individual.
  • Avoid disabilities at all costs.
  • Prevent the development of cardiovascular diseases, delay their onset or reduce their impact on the patient’s quality of life.

How is preventive cardiology applied?

By knowing the incidence of cardiovascular diseases according to age groups, strategies can be established for early intervention and detection of cardiovascular risk factors.

For example, we know that from the age of 35 years onwards, men are at risk of ischemic heart disease, which is very rare at this age, but which tends to appear more frequently after the age of 45 years. If we propose cardiological check-ups from the age of 35, we will be able to detect patients at risk and educate or treat them to avoid the development of these pathologies.

At the primary level, we should be able to intervene in schools and in the media to transmit relevant and appropriate information promoting a healthy lifestyle and discouraging toxic trends such as the excessive use of salt (often for cosmetic purposes of decoration in dishes) that could lead to habits that will lead to the development of early hypertension in the future.