Cardiovascular risk reduction: the perspective of heart specialist Christian Heesch

Not a day goes by without a new diet being lauded as the ultimate tool to reduce cardiovascular risk. We sat down with heart specialist Christian Heesch to find out what the hype is all about.

“No single measure, be it diet, any type of exercise, or any pill can offer complete protection from heart attack or stroke”, Christian Heesch told us. “Reducing your cardiovascular risk needs to be an effort that involves you, your doctor, and often also your friends and family. If you try to live healthy, but everybody around you smokes, eats pizza, and does drugs, you are unlikely to be successful. So, stop all your bad habits. If your friends have bad habits such as drugs, change friends. If your family smokes, tell them to smoke outside the house.”

“Any diet designed to reduce your heart attack risk will only work if the dietary effort is sustainable. Focus on vegetables and fruits, add fish frequently, and stay away from processed foods, meats, and fats. If you cook at home, preparing heart healthy food can become an enjoyable routine. If you have to eat in restaurants, today’s variety of choices makes it easier to stick to a diet than twenty years ago.”

“Obviously, diet alone may not work to keep you healthy”, Christian Heesch added. “If you have chronic problems such as diabetes, blood pressure issues, or obesity, these need to be addressed as well. Exercise should be an integral part of any heart risk reduction effort, and some of us may need medication to further lower the risk. Talk to your personal physician about things you can do to make it unlikely you will ever end up as a cardiac patient.”

Author: Robert Strong