Main messages for primary care from the 2016 ESC Guidelines for Cardiovascular Prevention
A new version of the European Guidelines for Cardiovascular Prevention was published in 2016 by the Sixth Joint Task Force, a partnership between the European Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and 9 other European societies . These guidelines for CV prevention are relevant for general practitioners as they play a crucial role in how and when to assess risk, by helping patients to achieve a better lifestyle and lower their risk factor levels.
One of the main messages for healthcare workers in primary care is the importance of a lifetime approach, since both risk and prevention are dynamic and continuous as patients age and/or accumulate co-morbidities . In addition, compared with earlier guidelines, greater emphasise is placed on a population-based approach, on disease-specific interventions, and specific subgroups, such as young and older individuals, females and ethnic minorities. The ESC guidelines are based on ‘to do’ and ‘not to do’ messages, but according to the guidelines these are not absolute rules and other factors should be considered as well.
Marchal et al.  comment on this translation from the 2016 guidelines for primary care and describe the challenges that arise from this for general practitioners. In light of, among other things, the aging population and the more personal approach of CV risk management, general practitioners should develop a vision for organising care as recommended by the new guidelines, they have to be proactive to collect data on possible CV risk factors systematically and routinely, they have to contribute to a healthy lifestyle of the general population as their responsibility goes beyond clinical practice and finally they should provide evidence for the effects of new approaches.
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