Psychosocial risk factors in cardiac practice
AbstractA large number of studies investigated the link between psychosocial risk factors and atherosclerosis or cardiac events. They found that emotional factors and chronic stressors strongly influence the course of coronary artery disease, by promoting the same pathophysiological mechanisms responsible for atherosclerosis. Thus, cardiologists often find in cardiac practice patients that presents psychosocial risk factors, needing the development of interventions aimed to management of these factors. Some of these interventions are the same that are traditionally used in clinical practice, such as exercise training and nutritional counselling, while others are more specific, and require the presence of psychologists (behavioral strategies, relaxation training, social support, etc.). Behavioral cardiology is an emerging field of clinical practice based on the recognition that psychosocial risk factors can promote atherosclerosis and adverse cardiac events. It requires the development of practical solutions aimed at the management of adverse lifestyle behaviours, emotional factors, and chronic stress.
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