Nutritional Therapy and the Management of Cardiovascular Disease

Introduction

Cardiovascular diseases, CVDs, continue to cause deaths, despite improvements in medical research and clinical practices. CVDs mortality rates have continued to rise, such that in the next 20 years, CVDs are expected to cause more than 23 million deaths. As a result, numerous treatment methods have been developed. These include medication, regular physical exercises, and nutritional therapy. While medication and regular physical exercises provide prevention and cure for CVDs, nutrition-based treatment is a cost-effective and easy-to-implement treatment method. However, effective nutritional therapy requires the assessment of the patient’s nutritional and medical history, which helps in identifying the patient’s nutritional needs. In light of this, various medically acceptable standards govern nutritional assessment.

These standards seem to be necessitated by controversies surrounding research findings on nutritional therapy. This paper aims at evaluating medically acceptable standards on nutritional assessment. It also provides an assessment of medically acceptable nutritional therapy for the prevention and cure of CVDs.

Cardiovascular diseases; the background

The World Health Organization asserts that CVDs “are the leading causes of death and disability in the world” (WHO n.pgn). Cardiovascular diseases, CVDs, are a group of diseases that affect the human heart and related parts, such as the aorta, aortic valves, Endocarditis, among others (Maton 34 to 38). The World Health Organization further adds that for the last two decades, CVDs mortality rates in developed countries have dropped (WHO n.pgn). This implies that the prevalence of CVDs remains high in developing countries. Demographically, men are at a higher risk of CVDs than women (Maton 36).

While research identifies numerous causes of CVDs, the primary cause is thought to be an imbalance of the ratio between two lipoproteins namely LDL and HDL. Other causes of CVDs include a very high level of blood sugar, hypertension, and prolonged exposure to air pollutants such as mercury. It is also thought that the intake of unhealthy foods, as well as irregular eating habits, increases the risk of CVDs.

Nevertheless, debate still rages on about certain controversial research findings. For instance, some researchers claim that a moderate intake of alcoholic drinks reduces the risk of CVDs. These findings have elicited mixed reactions. Arguments to the effect that alcohol intake increases the intake of refined sugars associated with the occurrence of CVDs abound. Nevertheless, The World Health Organization offers medically acceptable standards on prevention and cure of CVDs.

Research on medically acceptable nutritional assessment standards

According to the World Health Organization 2010, CVD mortality is estimated to be 17.3 million. Despite improvements in medical research, the World Health Organization estimates that by the year 2030, CVDs will cause more than 23 million deaths annually (WHO n.pgn). One of the most effective methods for the management of CVDs is nutritional therapy. Current and past research works indicate that nutritional therapy is not effective unless certain nutritional assessment standards are adhered to. Nutritional assessment is a multidimensional approach aimed at identifying a patient’s nutritional requirements. Nutritional assessment leads to the development of patient-specific nutritional therapy. It involves the assessment of a patient’s diet and medical history as well as recording anthropometric patient measurements (Worthington 3).

According to Worthington (2), developing a nutritional therapy requires a thorough assessment of the type of CVD affecting each patient. This implies that in managing CVDs, the one-size-fits-all approach is not applicable. As Lee (646-653) asserts, major nutritional assessment involves the identification of the prevailing cardiovascular disease as well as its cause. Additionally, evaluating the medical history of patients and at-risk individuals is a prerequisite in designing a nutritional treatment plan. In light of these assertions, Charney (45) asserts that regulatory requirements have increased in scope, such that differentiating between nutritional screening and nutritional assessment is now possible. Research by Worthington asserts that nutritional screening is a major component of nutritional assessment (1).

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