Self-Care for the Prevention and Management of Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke: A Scientific Statement for Healthcare Professionals from the American Heart Association
AHA Scientific Statements
Circulatory and Respiratory Physiology
Medicine and Health Sciences
Self‐care is defined as a naturalistic decision‐making process addressing both the prevention and management of chronic illness, with core elements of self‐care maintenance, self‐care monitoring, and self‐care management. In this scientific statement, we describe the importance of self‐care in the American Heart Association mission and vision of building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. The evidence supporting specific self‐care behaviors such as diet and exercise, barriers to self‐care, and the effectiveness of self‐care in improving outcomes is reviewed, as is the evidence supporting various individual, family‐based, and community‐based approaches to improving self‐care. Although there are many nuances to the relationships between self‐care and outcomes, there is strong evidence that self‐care is effective in achieving the goals of the treatment plan and cannot be ignored. As such, greater emphasis should be placed on self‐care in evidence‐based guidelines.