Despite the clear experimental and clinical trial data demonstrating the power of a healthy lifestyle to change heart risk factors and events, there are still gaps which need to be addressed.
Firstly, there is a need for more physical process studies to understand the size and temporal effects of different lifestyle interventions on coronary arteries and veins of the heart.
Modern technology and state-of-the-art MRI techniques enable us to measure the impact of these interventions on calcified plaque in the heart arteries and heart tissue inflammation. Another critical element to the project is to change how we engage individuals and whole populations in implementing these healthy lifestyle interventions in the ‘real world’.
A fundamental shift in our own approach is needed so we change our conversation from the fear and negativity of ‘disease’ to one of optimism about health. The power of personalised information, digital health and educational tools can empower individuals to engage with the lifestyle changes they need as individuals and track the positive changes in almost real time.
The time has come for a change in the conversation about chronic disease to a refreshed and repurposed model of healthcare. This message needs to be about the power of prevention using evidence-based approaches to change potential to actual outcomes.
Population health approaches have emphasised a ‘top down’ approach, but we hope that a ‘bottom up’ or individual and personalised care approach reaches to the healthcare that we seek for individuals which is affordable and therefore sustainable.