My vision on cardiovascular prevention and risk stratification

‘Lifestyle modification’ .........
in times of crisis: ‘now more than ever’

In addition to “oncological disease”, the main conditions to increasingly affect our overall health and wellbeing from the age of forty onwards are “cardiovascular and metabolical” conditions, such as heart failure, cerebral infarct, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and cholesterol.

During the last decennia, we saw an increase in life expectancy thanks to new developments in the field of medicine with regard to the curative treatment of these conditions (surgical (bypass and transplants) and non-surgical intervention (dottering, stenting and ablation), medication and cardiopulmonary resuscitation techniques) on the one hand, and the timely preventive approach on the other hand towards those people at risk.

This has led to the further ageing of our population, which forms a growing financial burden on our social security system.

Despite the abundance of information and knowledge available and all the regulations in place, from authorities as well as from health and social services and the medicine industry, we witness an increased prevalence and incidence (epidemiology) of these conditions.

The cause for this upward trend must be sought in the drastically changed lifestyle of our Western society throughout the last few decades (changes in diet, more sedentary lifestyle, chronic sleep deprivation, work-related stress, social/family-related stress, etc.). In recent years, awareness strategies and initiatives coordinated by the three parties involved (care providers, medicine industry and authorities) appear to have had a sensitizing effect on the public opinion and to have led to a result.

'Regular daily physical activity’ combined with a ‘healthy diet’ are the two cornerstones of a ‘healthy lifestyle’ that, apart from any associated disease and/or risk profile, needs to be pursued and maintained.

However, motivating and encouraging those people at risk to take responsibility remains a challenge and can only lead to results through perseverance (coaching).

A thorough individual medical internal-cardiovascular screening test for risk stratification performed around midlife is the starting point for lifestyle modification with the help from expert advice on exercise and sport combined with expert nutritional advice (cf. lifestyle coaching) and, if necessary, medication.

Other target groups for lifestyle modification are school-aged children and elderly people who have maintained a certain level of fitness. These groups are best reached through low-threshold facilities such as schools, youth clubs, sports clubs on the one hand and through corporations and associations on the other hand. It is important for these parties to contribute and participate to this common goal in addition to the other three parties involved.

Please remember to bring your SIS-card and Health Insurance sticker with you.
If you have an appointment with Dr. Vermylen, also remember to bring or wear sport clothes.

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