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Keep your heart young - identify risk factors and take early countermeasures

Keep your heart young - identify risk factors and take early countermeasures



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How the heart stays young even in old age

Cardiovascular problems in old age are often accepted as more or less "normal" signs of aging, although they are in fact the endpoints of a creeping disease process, experts from the German Society for Internal Medicine (DGIM) report. In most cases, however, this can be counteracted so that the heart stays healthy for longer and so-called "old-age diseases" can be avoided.

"Obesity and a lack of exercise cause blood lipid levels to be imbalanced and increase the risk of diabetes" and "this is often accompanied by high blood pressure, damage to the vessel walls and arteriosclerosis," reports the DGIM. Ultimately, this also increases the risk of a heart attack or stroke. At a press conference in Berlin, the experts explained how this process can be slowed down and, in particular, how the heart can be kept healthy for longer.

Do not simply accept signs of aging

For a long time, it seemed inevitable that the heart would become weaker and more vulnerable in old age. But today it is becoming “increasingly clear that one does not simply have to accept such signs of aging,” says Prof. Dr. med. Ursula Müller-Werdan from the Berlin Charité in the DGIM press release. According to the expert, the creeping aging processes that take place in the various organs and the apparently sudden age-related illnesses are based on similar development mechanisms. According to the DGIM, these mechanisms of formation can be influenced.

Avoid known risk factors

"Anyone who avoids the known risk factors for cardiovascular diseases also prevents premature aging of the heart and blood vessels," said the experts. The list of harmful influences is generally known today. In particular, cigarette smoke, obesity and physical inactivity are factors that individuals can avoid or take action against. With other risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic inflammatory processes or high LDL cholesterol levels, avoidance is not always possible, but they should be recognized early and treated consistently to protect the heart, reports the DGIM.

Cardiovascular diseases can be mutually dependent

According to the experts, all of the above factors initially impair the function of the vessel walls and promote high blood pressure and arteriosclerosis. However, this also increases the risk of various cardiovascular diseases that can be mutually dependent and intensify, said Prof. Müller-Werdan. This process, known as the cardiovascular continuum, ultimately also affects the heart muscle, which can no longer be adequately supplied with blood.

Heart attack out of the blue

As soon as the first symptoms of the heart become noticeable, the underlying damage is often well advanced, warns Prof. Der .Heart attack sometimes appears to appear out of the blue, out of complete health. However, this was actually preceded by a longer process that could have been interrupted.

Pay attention to a healthy lifestyle early on

According to the DGIM, once they have established cardiovascular damage such as arteriosclerosis, cardiac arrhythmia or cardiac muscle weakness, they are "usually chronic" and "their course can only be slowed down, but not reversed." According to the professor Dr. Cornel Sieber, chairman of the DGIM, must therefore pay attention to a healthy lifestyle as early as possible and consistently avoid risk factors. Also so that people can spend the years they live longer on average in good health. (fp)

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