How does medication fit in with cardiovascular disease treatment?

As a cardiovascular patient, you will find that your treatment will be a continuum, or spectrum, of care. Your treatment can be thought of as a continuum because you and your healthcare providers will work together over time using a range of treatment options. This means that your doctor will assess your level of disease and start treatment that could include any of the following:

- lifestyle changes
- medical therapy (medication)
- interventional procedures (angioplasty, stenting)
- surgery (bypass surgery, heart valve replacement)

Medical therapy will be a part of your treatment - whether you are at significant risk of disease; have had a heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular event; or have undergone procedures such as angioplasty, stenting, or bypass surgery. Medical therapy is used for patients who fall into two groups:

- Primary prevention: Initiation of medical therapy with the goal of preventing the onset of cardiac disease (for example, starting a cholesterol medicine before any diagnosis of build-up in the arteries of a fatty substance called plaque)
- Secondary prevention: Medicines started with the goal of limiting the progression of heart disease or for healing to reduce symptoms (for example, starting a beta blocker drug for a patient who has had a heart attack)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.