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.
- AHA scientific statements
- Cardiovascular disease