Evidence that heart attacks are largely preventable comes from an 11-year
Swedish study. It found that adherence to a combination of healthy dietary and
lifestyle practices could prevent nearly four of five heart attacks in men. Low-risk
behavior included five factors: a healthy diet (top quintile of a Recommended Food
Score), moderate alcohol consumption (10 to 30 g/day), no smoking, being physically active (walking/bicycling 40 or more minutes/day and exercising one or more hours/week), and having no abdominal adiposity (waist circumference <95 cm.,
37.4 inches). Compared with men having none of five low-risk factors, men having
all five low-risk lifestyle factors had a 79% lower heart attack risk. But even in this
Nordic country with excellent health information and services, only 1% of the men
studied had all five low-risk factors present.
A healthy lifestyle is of particular importance for those with inherited risk for coronary
artery disease. Risk can be up to 91% greater compared to those with low
genetic risk. A study to determine if a healthy lifestyle could offset high genetic
risk considered four healthy lifestyle factors: no current smoking, no obesity (BMI
<30), physical activity at least once weekly, and a healthy diet pattern. The study
found that among those at high genetic risk, a healthy lifestyle lowered the risk of
coronary artery events by 46%.
The importance of lifestyle is shown by the very low risk of CVD among indigenous
populations living without the conveniences and stresses of modern society.
Fortunately, most heart attacks are largely preventable when a person adheres to the Building Blocks of Health. And starting a
healthy lifestyle in childhood maximizes the odds that it will be effective in preventing cardiovascular disease. We also know that by modifying the risk factors for cardiovascular disease and lowering cholesterol, atherosclerosis can even be reversed.
This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in this blog or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Your Health with a Lifestyle Checklist (available in print or downloaded at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble and elsewhere). Copyright 2021 by J. Joseph Speidel