Cardiovascular prevention in childhood and adolescence can help prevent acquired cardiovascular diseases, such as myocardial infarction and stroke, later in life. This is emphasized in the new guideline on the prevention of cardiovascular disease in childhood and adolescence. This S2k guideline was prepared by a commission appointed by the Board of Directors of the German Society for Pediatric Cardiology and Congenital Heart Defects (DGPK). In addition, the guideline was developed in collaboration with experts from relevant specialties as well as patient representatives and representatives of parents' associations. The guideline is intended to provide orienting instructions for professional, diagnostic and therapeutic medical action for cardiovascular prevention in children and adolescents.
One member of the guideline commission is Prof. Dr. Renate Oberhoffer-Fritz, Dean of the Department of Sport and Health Sciences and head of the Chair of Preventive Pediatrics. She represents the German Society for Perinatal Medicine (DGPM) on the commission as an expert and played a leading role in the development of the guideline.
Among other things, the guideline takes a closer look at the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases and explains risk factors for atherosclerosis and heart failure. These include obesity, arterial hypertension, impaired glucose tolerance and diabetes mellitus or hyperlipidemia. Furthermore, factors such as smoking, environmental influences, lack of exercise and psychosocial influences are also considered.
In the further course, early diagnostic procedures of clinically inapparent cardiovascular diseases are explained such as noninvasive surrogate markers of atherosclerosis or newer early diagnostic procedures as possible predictors of later cardiovascular diseases. These include sonographic measurement techniques, such as the determination of the intima-media thickness of the common carotid artery (cIMT). These are intended to give an immediate impression of the structure of a larger vessel.
Finally, the guideline discusses targeted measures and activities that should help to reduce cardiovascular disease in many cases in the sense of primary prevention through a health-conscious lifestyle. Crucial to this is the early implementation of ideal health behaviors from birth through childhood, young adulthood, and beyond. These lifestyle measures include exercise, a cardioprotective diet, reduced media consumption, adequate sleep duration, and stress reduction. Furthermore, the guideline also explains prevention measures specifically for pregnancy and recommends maintaining an active lifestyle during pregnancy. This can significantly reduce the risk of maternal obesity, gestational diabetes and arterial hypertension.
"The guideline provides a practical framework for cardiovascular prevention interventions in children and adolescents. It is therefore primarily aimed at pediatric cardiologists, pediatricians and adolescent physicians, as well as cardiologists in clinics and practices. The guidelines are also intended to provide guidance for patients, parents and relatives," explains Prof. Oberhoffer-Fritz. "The care of patients should be closely coordinated with specialized pediatric cardiology centers in order to achieve the best possible quality of life for patients and their families and to detect or prevent potential complications at an early stage."
Prof. Dr. Renate Oberhoffer-Fritz
Dean Department of Sport and Health Sciences
Chair of Preventive Pediatrics
phone: 089 289 24601
Text: Romy Schwaiger
Photos: Chair of Preventive Pediatrics/private