Preventing Coronary Heart Disease: Prospects, Policies, and Politics

Preventing Coronary Heart Disease: Prospects, Policies, and Politics

Preventing Coronary Heart Disease: Prospects, Policies, and Politics

Preventing Coronary Heart Disease: Prospects, Policies, and Politics

Synopsis

Drawing on the disciplines of sociology, politics and epidemiology,the author analyses Governmental and other policies for the prevention of heart disease and looks at the feasisbility of such policies and obstacles barring their adoption.

Excerpt

Prospects for prevention

The broad aim of this book is to examine policies for the prevention of coronary heart disease. More specifically, the book focuses on recent policy proposals which highlight the central role that general practitioners and their primary health care teams should play in the prevention of coronary heart disease. The following chapters focus on coronary heart disease prevention policies in general and how policies emphasising the role of general practitioners emerged. This is followed by a detailed examination of these policies and the assumptions that underlie them. Then, the empirical evidence is analysed particularly focusing on the feasibility of the proposals, the views of the general practitioners themselves and the barriers to involvement. The final chapter focuses on lay health beliefs and health practices and the factors which shape them. From the general practitioners’ point of view an understanding of the lay perspective is crucial if their interventions are to be effective.

In this introductory chapter, however, the emphasis will be placed on setting the scene. Thus, this chapter will begin by providing some background information about the nature of CHD (coronary heart disease), the size of the problem and the prospects for prevention.

WHAT IS CHD?

Coronary heart disease is a condition where the heart muscle (myocardium) receives insufficient oxygen because the coronary arteries fail to maintain a sufficient supply of blood. (For full details see Open University (1985a).) There are two reasons why arteries cannot maintain an adequate supply of blood. One of these is coronary artery spasm (Bray and Ward, 1986) although this is usually a common accompaniment of coronary obstruction which is the major reason. Coronary obstruction develops when the

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