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New Study Shows 79% of Heart Attacks may be Preventable by Lifestyle Changes

Saturday, September 27th, 2014


We at the Center for Plastic Surgery have been teaching lifestyle modification for years to improve general health and reduce the risks of many diseases. A new study has added further credence our teachings. The study of Swedish men reports that four out of five “heart attacks in men are actually preventable when a person makes changes to lifestyle that include maintaining a healthy weight and diet, adopting a regular exercise program, avoiding cigarettes and keeping alcohol consumption to a minimum,” according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Researchers arrived at this conclusion after conducting “a retrospective analysis of more than a decade’s worth of data on the health and lifestyle habits of 20,000 Swedish men, aged 45 to 79.” Specifically the study found  that “not smoking lowered the risk of heart attack” by 36 percent. Exercise also helped. The “men who walked or cycled for at least 40 minutes per day and did other exercise at least one hour per week had a 3 percent lower risk.” Additionally, men with “a waist circumference below 37 inches had a 12 percent lower risk,” the study also found. It also reports that moderate drinking and “a diet of fruits, veggies, legumes, nuts, reduced-fat dairy products, fish and whole grains” also helped reduce the risk of a heart attack. Men whose behaviors included all of these measures “had an 86% lower risk of heart attack than those with high-risk behaviors.” However, just “1% of men in the study – and about the same amount of the US population – keeps this kind of heart-healthy regime.”

These findings were repeated by CBS News (9/23) and NBC News (9/23 Fox) on their websites and by Time (9/23 Sifferlin) and repeated by the AMA Morning Rounds (9/23) .

HealthDay (9/23, Dotinga) reports that when it comes to heart attacks in women, “healthy living” appears to have a “similar effect,” as seen in previous studies.

MedPage Today (9/22, Raeburn) reports that an accompanying editorial “cited earlier research attesting to the risk reduction power of simple lifestyle factors, and went so far as to call for change,” writing, “It is time to prioritize these most basic and fundamental behaviors.”