A Global Perspective on Psychosocial Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease
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Worldwide, there is variation in the incidence CVD with the greater burden being borne by low and middle-income countries. Traditional risk factors do not fully explain the CVD risk in populations, and there is increasing awareness of the impact the social environment and psychological factors have on CVD incidence and outcomes. The measurement of psychosocial variables is uniquely complex as variables are difficult to define objectively and local understanding of psychosocial risk factors may be subject to cultural influences. Notwithstanding this, there is a growing evidence base for the independent role they play in the pathogenesis of CVD. Consistent associations have been seen for general psychological stress, work-related stress, locus of control and depression with CVD risk. Despite the strength of this association the results from behavioural and pharmacological interventions have not clearly resulted in improved outcomes.
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