Prevention of cardiovascular diseases

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"An apple a day keeps the doctor away" – this proverb sums up what is meant by prevention: it is about preventing diseases so that they do not arise in the first place. People who are healthy, for example, can do something to keep it that way by adopting a good lifestyle. Certain factors, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels, can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. But people with these risk factors can take specific preventive measures to keep their heart and circulation healthy.

Our eating and living habits play a special role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. A healthy lifestyle not only keeps you healthy, but also has a positive effect on the cardiovascular risk factors body weight, blood pressure, blood lipid levels and diabetes mellitus. It is therefore doubly worthwhile. The special opportunity lies in the fact that each individual can actively shape his or her prevention.

The four most important protection factors:

1. Do not smoke

Smoking has been shown to be a strong risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease. Quitting smoking not only reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, but also of other diseases such as cancer or respiratory diseases.

2. Healthy diet

Balanced and varied is the maxim for a healthy diet. The heart is especially happy when a lot of wholemeal products, vegetables and fruit are on the table. It is also good to eat less meat and instead eat fish regularly, and to choose vegetable fats instead of animal fats if possible.

3. Sufficient movement

Regular physical activity prevents cardiovascular diseases, improves fitness and mental health. Recent studies by the DZHK scientist Professor Martin Halle show that even little exercise can have a positive effect compared to no exercise at all. So it does not have to be a regular 30-minute jogging session. Even short daily walks of seven to eight minutes reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 20 percent.

4. Good stress management

Typical stress triggers in everyday life are, for example, time and performance pressure, noise or problems in the family. If stress becomes a permanent burden, it can also have physical consequences, such as an increase in blood pressure or an accelerated heartbeat, which can be harmful to heart health. Stress can also promote unfavourable lifestyle habits (more food, higher cigarette or alcohol consumption). Psychocardiology, a branch of medicine, researches the interactions between cardiovascular diseases and psychological stress such as stress or mental illness, for example depression. A large study with the participation of the DZHK showed that depression for men even carries as high a risk of cardiovascular disease as obesity or high cholesterol levels.