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Lifestyle Counseling Reduces Heart Risk
Date:6/13/2008

European program shows improvement in diet and other factors

FRIDAY, June 13 (HealthDay News) -- An intensive, across-Europe effort to offer lifestyle advice to people at high risk of heart disease effectively helped them reduce such risk factors as high blood pressure, cholesterol and smoking.

"The results we see are very encouraging compared to what we see in usual care," said Dr. David Wood, a cardiology professor at Imperial College in London and the lead author of a report on the trial in the June 13 issue of The Lancet.

But, he added, "there is certainly room for improvement, particularly in relation to helping patients quit smoking."

The program, mainly run by nurses, was developed by the European Society of Cardiology and tested on more than 5,000 people in six pairs of hospitals and six pairs of general practice in eight countries.

"It was for two groups of patients," Wood said. "One was those who already had developed coronary heart disease, another those who were asymptomatic but at high risk because of a combination of risk factors that gives a high chance of developing heart disease over 10 years."

The trial, called the Euroaction study, compared the results of added counseling on lifestyle issues such as diet, physical activity and smoking to the usual care. It included more than 3,000 people with coronary heart disease and 2,300 at high risk. Half got the counseling from a team headed by nurses, assisted by dietitians and physiotherapists, with doctors in the background. The counseling was given to families as well as individuals.

"It was the nurses who coordinated the day-to-day program, with a comprehensive assessment of lifestyle and risk factors such as blood pressure and glucose," Wood said.

In diet, 55 percent of those getting the counseling reduced their intake of saturated fat, compared to 40 percent for those note getting the advice. Increase
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