Cardiovascular Disease: Diet, Nutrition And Emerging Risk Factors

Despite improvements in death rates from cardiovascular disease (CVD) around the world, CVD remains a leading cause of death and ill health in the UK, where death rates are amongst the highest in the world. Reducing death rates from this disease remains high on the Government’s agenda, yet attention to the classical risk factors may not provide all the answers.

A British Nutrition Foundation Task Force, chaired by Professor Keith Frayn from the University of Oxford, has considered risk factors of CVD, particularly novel ones, which may increase an individual’s risk of heart disease and stroke. Evidence of the relationship of these emerging risk factors with diet has been reviewed and findings will be discussed at a conference to launch the Task Force report on Tuesday 12th April, in London.

CVD is a multi-factorial disease, which arises out of interactive effects of different combinations of risk factors. The major markers of disease risk, including high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol levels and smoking, have been well recognised for a number of years. But in recent years a number of other ‘novel’ risk markers have emerged, and understanding of the physiology of and risk factors for heart disease has progressed.

UK dietary guidelines in relation to CVD date back to the 1994 report published by the Government’s Committee on Medical Aspects of Nutrition (COMA). The emerging evidence that has been reviewed by the Task Force supports the need to re-examine these dietary guidelines. The conference will be an opportunity to hear from experts in the field of nutrition and cardiovascular health, and will provide a platform to discuss the required public health approach to reducing the risk of CVD in the 21st century, including priorities for action.

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