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Lifestyle measures to tackle atherosclerotic disease

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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In the UK, it has been estimated (1):

  • blood serum cholesterol above 5.2 mmol/l contributes to 46% of coronary heart disease (CHD) deaths
  • physical inactivity (i.e. less than 12 20-minute sessions of vigorous activity in the last 4-week period) contributes to 37% of CHD deaths
  • cigarette smoking contributes to 19% of CHD deaths
  • blood pressure of above 140/90 mmHg contributes to 13% of CHD deaths
  • obesity (body mass index of 30 kg per metre^2 or more) contributes to 17% of CHD deaths
  • similar estimates as regards the contribution of factors such as unhealthy diets, high alcohol consumption and diabetes mellitus are not available (1)

Lifestyle targets in primary and secondary prevention of CHD include (2):

  • stop smoking
  • make healthier food choices
  • increase aerobic exercise
  • only drink alcohol moderately within sensible limits

Information regarding specific risk factors is available via the linked pages.


  1. Petersen S, Rayner M, Press V. Coronary heart disease statistics. 2000 edition. London: British Heart Foundation, 2000.
  2. British Heart Foundation, Factfile 8/99, Joint British Recommendations on prevention of coronary heart disease in clinical practice.
  3. NICE (May 2007). Secondary prevention in primary and secondary care for patients following a myocardial infarction

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