Fast Five Quiz: Secondary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease

Yasmine S. Ali, MD


December 14, 2020

Figure 1. Diseased heart, conceptual image.

Lifestyle modification is an important component of the secondary prevention of CVD. Among them, smoking cessation is the most important and impactful. Individuals aged 30 years gain 3-5 years of life by stopping smoking; an equally impressive mortality benefit has been shown in elderly populations.

Reduced physical activity is a key risk factor for CVD. Walking 30 minutes daily has been shown to reduce the risk for myocardial infarction (MI) in elderly individuals by as much as 50%. In addition, a recent systematic review found that across 25 studies, participants who reported being physically active in addition to achieving other positive lifestyle goals (abstinence from smoking, heart-healthy dietary habits, alcohol moderation) were at least half as likely to experience an incident CVD event, to die of CVD, or to die of any cause compared with physically inactive participants who did not achieve other positive lifestyle goals. These findings were consistent across age, sex, and study length of follow-up, and even after lower-quality studies were excluded.

A recent Women's Health Initiative study found self‐reported dietary intakes that more closely aligned with the Mediterranean, DASH, and American Diabetes Association (ADA) dietary patterns were associated with lower risk for incident CVD in postmenopausal women with type 2 diabetes. In contrast, recent research has suggested that the Paleolithic diet may increase the risk for heart disease.

Learn more about secondary prevention of CVD.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.