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Prevent Heart Attacks – How to Start Lifestyle Changes?

Heart attack prevention – Moderate entry and not all at once

In the prevention of heart attack, a healthy diet and adequate exercise play a particularly important role. But stable movement, healthy eating and exposure to heart attack risk factors are easier said than done by many, according to the German Heart Foundation in a recent press release.

Heart experts from the German Heart Foundation explain what healthy and heart patients need to look for in order to reduce their risk of heart attack. However, giving up all unhealthy habits at once is overwhelming for most people. How to get started, experts at the Heart Foundation explained.

A man who has a heart problem pushes his hands to his breast
The risk of a heart attack can be reduced by a healthy lifestyle, but many feel overwhelmed by the necessary adjustments. (Image: Robert Kneschke /

Risk factors for coronary heart disease

Life factors such as smoking, overweight, lack of exercise, unhealthy diets with too much sugar, carbohydrates and fat, but also psychosocial stress are significantly involved in the development of hypertension, diabetes and lipid metabolism disorders. They in turn create risk factors for coronary heart disease (CHD), which are usually the basis for a heart attack.

Know your own risk of heart attack
In order to be able to assess their own risk, every primary care physician should be able to review these cardiovascular risk factors during a "regular health check at age 35". honey. Heribert Schunkert of the Board of Directors of the German Heart Foundation and Director of the Department of Adult Cardiology at the German Heart Center Munich

A change for many Herculean tasks

If high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels or a narrowed coronary artery are found during the examination, it is important for those affected to change their lifestyle as soon as possible and to stop the risk factors with medication. But "especially with several high-risk illnesses at the same time and a tight time corset in daily life through work and family, this is a conversion for many of Herculean tasks," emphasizes Professor Dr. Med. honey. Bernhard Schwaab, President of the German Society for the Prevention and Rehabilitation of Cardiovascular Diseases e.V. (DGPR) in a current statement.

Break down known structures

According to the expert, patients should not make the mistake of wanting to change everything at once. Quitting smoking at the same time, starting endurance sports, reducing obesity and eventually normalizing blood pressure and cholesterol levels with medication is simply too much for most patients. Lifestyle changes usually have to break old known structures, which is difficult. Therefore, "it is often useful to set fixed anchor points in your living environment," explains Professor Schwaab. It could be a regular race track, a walker, or a cardiac sports group at a club, cooking with family and friends, or sharing with ex-smokers in a self-help group.

Start moving

First of all, it is advisable to start the movement, says Professor Dr. Med. honey. Bernhard Schwaab. The movement "makes you feel faster, is more effective, and thus gets better at cardiovascular treatment," says Professor Schwaab. In addition, it not only prevents movement from arteriosclerosis, but also has a positive effect on other physical and organic functions such as cell renewal, stimulation of brain activity, metabolic processes in the liver and other organs. The goal should be 30 minutes of endurance sports five days a week. It could be brisk walking, cycling, jogging, walking, ergometer training or swimming, Professor Schunkert adds. Even walking for ten minutes a day reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Before training begins, cardiac patients should determine with the cardiologist the ability to exercise and discuss the training schedule.

Changing the diet of Mediterranean cuisine

Furthermore, changing your diet is an important issue for many who are affected. Mediterranean cuisine, which is focused on fruits and vegetables, salad, legumes, some meat, but rather fish, olive and oilseed rape and herbs instead of salt, is a gradual support for weight loss for a healthy normal weight, experts said. "We are promoting Mediterranean cuisine because it increases protection against heart attack and stroke, but also against other chronic conditions such as diabetes and cancer," Professor Schwaab and Professor Schunkert said together. In particular, consuming sufficient fruits and vegetables on a daily basis can help a relatively low energy content to avoid obesity, which in turn prevents hypertension, and thus coronary heart disease and heart attack. (F)


Dipl. Geogr. Fabian Peters


  • German Heart Foundation: Preventing Heart Attack: Changing Your Lifestyle – But Not All At Once! (Posted on 09/25/2019),

Important note:
This article contains general information only and should not be used for diagnosis or treatment alone. It cannot replace a doctor's visit.