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NICE recommends exercise to prevent cardiovascular disease, before prescribing statins

18 July 2014 - 6:10pm

People at risk of heart disease and stroke should address lifestyle factors, such as exercise and diet, before they receive statin therapy.


People with a 10 per cent or higher risk of developing CVD over a 10-year period should modify their lifestyle

This is the message from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in updated clinical guidance published today.

The guideline looks at the care and treatment of people at risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and those previously affected by these conditions.

It advises that people with a 10 per cent or higher risk of developing CVD over a 10-year period should be encouraged to start preventive treatment by modifying their lifestyle.

These include stopping smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, taking exercise and eating a healthy diet.

It also recommends that people with CVD, and those at high risk, should engage in the following physical activity every week:

  • at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity
  • or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic activity
  • or a mix of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity, in line with national guidance for the general population

In addition, people at risk should perform muscle-strengthening activities that work all the major muscle groups on at least two days a week.

CSP professional adviser Ripal Patel said: ‘Physiotherapists are very proactive in treating cardiovascular disease, but we need to recognise our role in its prevention and increase our profile in this area.

‘People at risk, particularly those with co-morbidities, may find it difficult to achieve the levels of physical activity recommended in this guidance.

‘In these situations physiotherapists are ideally positioned, and have the relevant expertise, to work collaboratively to help them overcome these barriers.’

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