Heart attack - what are the risk factors?

Each cigarette shortens life by eight minutes

The most dangerous risk factor for a heart attack is smoking. "Each cigarette shortens life by eight minutes on average, " says Prof. Gohlke, board member of the German Heart Foundation. "This applies to both women and men." Above all, smoking damages the inner lining of the blood vessels and thus promotes the calcification of the vessels. In addition, the tendency to form blood clots is increased. The risk of heart attack in smokers is several times greater than that of non-smokers.

Overweight is dangerous

The overweight risk factor, which affects more and more people, must not be underestimated. Being overweight leads to diabetes, hypertension and inflammatory reactions in the body that promote the onset of heart attack and stroke. That means: The stomach must go!

Pay attention to a healthy diet

Much depends on a healthy diet. To avoid is especially the intake of too many calories. Not more than 60 g of fat should be consumed per day. It is important to look for hidden fats such as sausage, cheese, ready meals or snacks. Recommended is the Mediterranean diet, which has been proven in southern countries for centuries. A study by the World Health Organization (WHO) has shown that four times more people suffer from cardiovascular disease in northern Europe, where little fruit and vegetables are eaten and relatively fat, than in countries in the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean cuisine not only attaches importance to a lot of fruit and vegetables, instead of high-fat meat fish dishes are preferred on the table. The dishes are made with olive oil, which can protect the blood vessels.

Cholesterol damages the vessels

Dangerous are also elevated cholesterol levels, which can lead to massive damage to the vessel walls. The risk is especially high when the so-called "bad" LDL cholesterol increases and at the same time the "good" HDL cholesterol is too low.

Four to five times a week sport

Another heart attack risk factor is lack of exercise. "From a medical point of view, it is absolutely advisable to do sport for half an hour four to five times a week, " emphasizes Prof. Gohlke. "Recommended are endurance sports such as Nordic walking, cycling, cross-country skiing and swimming, but also dancing, football and tennis.If you have not been very active, you can start with brisk walks.In bad weather or lack of exercise, you can also use the exercise bike or the Use treadmill. "

Hypertension often goes unnoticed

There is also a particular danger from elevated blood pressure levels. Because an elevated blood pressure usually causes no noticeable symptoms and thus often goes unnoticed for years. "Adults should check their blood pressure at regular intervals and have it treated if necessary, " emphasizes Prof. Gohlke.

Diabetes requires increased alertness

A high alertness is also required in diabetes, as diabetes is associated with a multiple increased heart attack risk. Patients should therefore control their blood sugar levels very carefully and eliminate as far as possible other risk factors - especially overweight and lack of exercise.

Positive or negative stress?

Life-changing events, but also the stress of everyday life, have an impact on health. High professional demands with constant deadline pressure or bullying are to be regarded as risk-increasing factors. Again, it depends on how the individual reacts to the stressful situation. If the stress causes you to catch a cigarette and has no time for physical exercise, the effects are particularly bad. Today, stress management training programs are recommended. Regular physical activity and relaxation with the family or friends, relaxation exercises (eg autogenic training or progressive muscle relaxation) help reduce the effects of stress.

The decision

"Decide on a lifestyle without cigarettes, with Mediterranean diet, lots of exercise, relaxation and socializing - watch your weight, your cholesterol level and your blood pressure, which can significantly influence your risk, " says the German Heart Foundation.

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