Eighty percent of the men who adopt healthy lifestyle choices reduce their risk of heart attacks. A recent study revealed that maintaining a healthy weight and diet, exercise, not smoking and moderating alcohol intake, could prevent could prevent coronary events in men.
While mortality from heart disease has declined in recent decades, with much of the reduction attributed to medical therapies, the authors said prevention through a healthy lifestyle avoids potential side effects of medication and were more cost effective for population-wide reductions in coronary heart disease.
The researchers found a clear reduction in risk for heart attack for each individual lifestyle factor the participants practiced. For instance having a low-risk diet together with a moderate alcohol consumption led to an estimated 35 percent lower risk of heart attack compared to the high-risk group, those who practice none of the low-risk factors.
Men who combined the low-risk diet and moderate alcohol consumption with not smoking, being physically active and having a low amount of abdominal fat, had 86 percent lower risk. Researchers found similar results in men with hypertension and high cholesterol levels.
The burden of cardiovascular disease could be significantly reduced through programs targeted to men and promoting low-risk lifestyle choices. Even in those who take medication, an additional reduction in risk for chronic heart disease has been observed in those with a healthy lifestyle.
Agneta Akesson, Ph.D., Associate Professor at the Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, said that it was important to note that these lifestyle behaviors are modifiable, and changing from high-risk to low-risk behaviors could have great impact on cardiovascular health; however, the best thing one can do was to adopt healthy lifestyle choices early in life.