The majority of heart attacks in men could be avoided, according to researchers in Sweden. A recent study involving 20,271 men aged between 45 and 79 over an 11-year period found that 80% of heart attacks could be prevented, if they are willing to make five key lifestyle changes.
The study, which was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, showed that men could significantly reduce their risk of heart attack by:
- Stopping smoking
- Cutting down on alcohol intake
- Keeping waistlines below 95cm (37.4 inches)
- Eating more healthily
- Exercising for at least 40 minutes per day
Making just one of these changes was shown to reduce the risk of heart attack by up to a third, while those who made all five changes saw their risk fall by 86%. Quitting smoking cut the risk by 36%, while pursuing a healthy diet led to a 25% drop and drinking fewer than three units (a pint and a half per day) led to an 8% drop in risk.
Dr Agneta Akesson, associate professor at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, said: ‘It is not surprising that healthy lifestyle choices would lead to a reduction in heart attacks. What is surprising is how drastically the risk dropped…The best thing one can do is to adopt healthy lifestyle choices early in life.’
Around 62,000 men suffer a heart attack each year in England, compared with 38,000 women. However, similar studies have shown that women who follow similar guidelines could also substantially reduce their risk of heart attack.
Improving health in the workplace
As an employer, you may not be an expert in medical risk management, but encouraging staff members to become more active, eat more healthily and take care of their health could make a real difference to their personal wellbeing as well as to workplace productivity and absence levels.
Medigold Health is a medical risk management specialist, and our trained staff will help to ensure that your employees are as fit and healthy as possible. Contact Medigold today if you are looking for ways to improve health in the workplace.