The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA), in collaboration with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and other specialty societies, have released new guidelines on four cardiovascular health topics.
Brief descriptions of the changes are outlined below along with web links for more information:
- Assessment of Cardiovascular Risk
- Risk assessments now include cardiovascular risk calculations for African-Americans. Stroke risk has also been added to the equation.
- The Cardiovascular Risk Calculator can be downloaded here.
- Lifestyle Modifications to Reduce Cardiovascular Risk
- New guidelines emphasize heart-healthy dietary patterns and not stressing over an occasional indulgence every once in a while. A heart-healthy diet includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy products, poultry, fish and nuts. Limit red meat and sugary foods and beverages. The DASH diet (see page 48 in the Cardiovascular Health Part 1 BPIP) is a heart-healthy diet. Cutting down on sodium intake to no more than 2,400 mg/day and aerobic exercise 3-4 times a week is an essential component of a heart-healthy lifestyle.
- Management of Elevated Blood Cholesterol
- Statin medications should be prescribed to individuals without cardiovascular disease who have a 7.5% or higher risk for a heart attack or stroke within the next 10 years. (Previously, statins were prescribed if 10-year risk exceeded 20%.)
- Per this guideline, there is no evidence to support specific LDL-C or non HDL-C treatment targets; rather statin therapy intensity should be used to reduce risk in those likely to benefit.
- Management of Body Weight in Adults
- BMI calculations should be done annually to assess adults for overweight and obesity. Obesity is viewed as a disease rather than just a lifestyle. Lifestyle treatment approaches and the benefits vs. risk of bariatric surgical procedures are discussed. The guidelines include risk reduction benefits associated with weight loss.
HHQI will be updating the Cardiovascular Health Part 1 & 2 BPIPs to reflect these changes.