Purpose of review: Cardiovascular disease is a serious threat to population health. The true causes are not fully known, but a number of biological and behavioral risk factors have been identified. In this review we aim at understanding psychosocial, behavioral and lifestyle factors and their role in clinical care of patients with cardiovascular disease. We describe recent scientific evidence of psychosocial and life style risk and behavioral interventions to reduce risk in cardiovascular disease. We also discuss whether intervention programs are effective against cardiovascular disease and its risk factors, and whether they are of benefit to the patients. Gender aspects and ethnic variations are highlighted.
Recent findings: In recent European Guidelines of CVD Prevention in Clinical Practice, behavioral factors have become recognized to be true risk factors and identified as important barriers to lifestyle change for patients with cardiovascular disease. Lifestyle changes play a pivotal role in clinical prevention of cardiovascular disease, as they are recommended as the first choice of intervention modalities before pharmacological treatment is initiated.
Summary: While there is now common agreement about the importance of psychosocial risk factors for cardiovascular disease, a better consensus about intervention methods is needed in order to evaluate and appreciate the future scientific evidence from behavioral cardiovascular preventive efforts.