Only a fraction of people who have established heart disease or a past stroke are adhering to the most basic lifestyle recommendations known to reduce their risk of a future event. Those are the latest findings from the sweeping Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study, a global snapshot of cardiovascular disease risk factors and health status encompassing both rich and poor nations and urban and rural communities.
Previous analyses from PURE have highlighted the underuse of proven medications for the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease-CVD (particularly in underdeveloped countries), published in the Lancet in 2012.
PURE was conducted in 17 countries, across more than 600 communities, and enrolled 153 996 adults.
In their latest paper, published in the April 17, 2013 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, Teo and colleagues, with senior author Dr Salim Yusuf (McMaster University), zero in on the 7519 PURE study participants who had self-reported coronary heart disease or previous stroke.
As Teo and colleagues note, 18.5% continued to smoke following their index diagnosis, only 35% took up high levels of work- or leisure-related physical activity, and just 39% reported following a healthy diet.
In all, 14% reported not engaging in any of the three healthy lifestyle behaviors defined by the study, while just 4% tried to adopt all three.
“This study shows that a large gap exists between actual and ideal participation in the three key lifestyle behaviors of avoidance of (or quitting) smoking, undertaking regular physical activity, and eating a healthy diet after a CHD or stroke event,” they write.
“Nearly one-fifth of individuals continued to smoke, only about one-third undertook high levels of physical activity, and only two-fifths were eating a healthy diet.”
It is time that the Consultant Physicians pull up their socks and started emphasizing on these aspects of treatment.