Summary of key learnings

Burden of Cardiovascular Disease

  • Cardiovascular disease (CVD), particularly Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) and ischaemic stroke, is the main cause of premature mortality sin Europe resulting in over 3.9 million deaths each year1

CVD cost the EU

€ 210 billion each year

Impact of dietary and lifestyle changes on CVD prevention

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) states that more than three-quarters of CVD mortality may be prevented with adequate changes in lifestyle2
  • European Society of Cardiology/European Atherosclerosis Society guidelines on the prevention of CVD, state that dietary modifications should form the basis for CVD prevention3,4

Stop smoking and regular activity

are associated with a decrease in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality3,4

Lowering LDL-Cholesterol - A central target of CVD Prevention

  • Increased plasma total cholesterol (TC), in particular LDL-cholesterol is a known cause of coronary atherosclerosis5
  • Lowering total and LDL-cholesterol is the key therapeutic target for reducing CVD risk
  • Nutritional and behaviour changes have been shown to lower LDL-cholesterol levels by up to 20%

Lowering total and

is the key theraputic target for
reducing CVD risk

European guidelines on the use of plant sterols/stanols to lower cholesterol

  • The ESC/EAS recommend the daily consumption of foods with added plant sterols/stanols (approximately 2 g/day) as part of dietary changes as an effective way to lower LDL-cholesterol levels by up to 10%, in patients at all levels of CV risk4,6

Plant sterols/stanols

have an additional LDL-
cholesterol lowering effect

when used in combination with a statin6

Motivating patients to make dietary changes

  • Work with patients’ dietary preferences, motivating them to substitute unhealthy options for healthier ones using the patient fact sheet

Advise patients

to use food with added plant sterols/stanols


1. European Heart Network. European Cardiovascular Disease Statistics. 2017

2. World Health Organization. What can I do to avoid a heart attack or a stroke?

3. Visseren FLJ, Mach F, Smulders YM, et al. 2021 ESC Guidelines on cardiovascular disease prevention in clinical practice. Eur Heart J 2021; 42(34): 3227-3337.

4. Mach F, Baigent C, Catapano AL, et al. 2019 ESC/EAS Guidelines for the management of dyslipidaemias: lipid modification to reduce cardiovascular risk. Eur Heart J 2020; 41(1): 111-188.

5. Ference BA, Ginsberg HN, Graham I et al Low-density lipoproteins cause atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. 1. Evidence from genetic, epidemiologic, and clinical studies. A consensus statement from the European Atherosclerosis Society Consensus Panel. Eur Heart J. 2017 Apr 24.

6. Gylling H, Plat J, Turley S et al. Plant sterols and plant stanols in the management of dyslipidaemia and prevention of cardiovascular disease. Atherosclerosis 2014;232(2):346-360.