How to prevent the first heart attack

How to prevent heart attacks? Diet and lifestyle play the most important role, not genetics as often thought

Heart attack, what it is and how to recognize the symptoms

Here are ways to prevent heart attacks. Although there is a widespread belief that heart attacks are due to genetics, the fundamental role would be linked to lifestyle. In fact, a Swedish study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology in 2014 defines five specific lifestyles that, combined, can prevent heart attacks in an amount of eighty percent. The researchers involved in this study, belonging to the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, wanted to determine which individual habits help adults prevent future heart attacks.

Since a large part of the population is at risk of heart problems, the use of medicines, which involve serious collateral risks, is not a truly effective solution. Instead, the lifestyle would drastically change the risk of heart attacks. What determined the study? In 1997, a group of men aged between forty-five and seventy-nine were recruited for research. In a period of eleven years, five lifestyle factors were examined in particular: diet, smoking habits, alcohol consumption, amount of abdominal fat and daily activity level.

The researchers found that each of these conditions is important for preventing heart attacks in the future. Smoking is one of the bad habits to be abandoned, as previous research has consistently shown. Even a healthy diet certainly helps to keep a heart attack away: an ideal diet consists in consuming at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day, four portions of cereal, at least a portion of dairy products, and at least two portions of fish per week.

Epidemiologists have discovered that the circumference of the waist and the proportion between waist and hips is a relevant factor to understand if one leads a healthy lifestyle. As for alcohol consumption, the study revealed that drinking moderately decreases the incidence of heart attacks by eleven percent. Finally, the last method outlined by Swedish research is to perform physical activity: unexpectedly, a regular activity decreases the incidence of heart attacks by only three percent.

Category: Health
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