(HealthDay News) – Italian cardiologists often do not have ideal or even favorable cardiovascular risk profiles themselves, according to a study published in the July 15 issue of The American Journal of Cardiology.

Pier Luigi Temporelli, MD, from Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri in Veruno, Italy, and colleagues analyzed data from a web-based electronic self-reported survey, the Survey on Cardiac Risk Profile and Lifestyle Habits in a Cohort of Italian Cardiologists, to describe the personal health habits of Italian cardiologists. Baseline characteristics, medical illnesses and traditional cardiovascular risk factors, lifestyle habits, and selected medication use were assessed for 1,770 respondents.

The researchers found that >49% of the participants had one of the five traditional risk factors (hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, active smoking, diabetes, or previous vascular events); >28% had two to five risk factors; and 22.1% had none. More than 90% of cardiologists had a self-reported risk perception described as mild (low or intermediate), despite the prevalence of risk factors. Participants frequently reported overweight and obesity, physical inactivity, stress at work or at home, and limited use of cardiovascular drugs such as statins or aspirin.

“When all these data are considered together, the average cardiovascular profile of Italian cardiologists is unlikely to be considered ideal or even favorable according to recent statements and guidelines regarding cardiovascular risk,” the authors write. “Thus, there is large room for improvement and a need for education and intervention.”

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