NEWS

Depression, cholesterol are killers

Data that link a sedentary lifestyle to myocardial infarction was presented by Greek cardiologists a few days ago at the American Heart Association’s conference in Chicago. The scientific team (including Panayiotakos and Chrysochoos) presented a study that dealt with emergent factors – inflammations and thrombosis – that caused coronary heart disease. The «Attica» study showed that even moderate exercise can diminish risk factors by reducing blood levels of CRP ( a marker for inflammation), as well as other inflammation indicators like white blood cells. According to the findings of the two studies – «Cardio2000» (with a sample of 2,100 people) and «Attica» (3,200) – conducted by the Cardiological Clinic of the University of Athens: The Mediterranean diet has benefits even for heavy smokers, diabetics and people with high blood pressure. But it loses its protective role if intense psychosocial anxiety is combined with another risk factor. Smoking and pathological amounts of lipids are important causes of cardiac arrest in men; arterial blood pressure, a sedentary lifestyle and depression in women. Recent depression increases the risk of coronary heart disease by 67 percent. Widowers, divorced and unemployed men are at even greater risk. An unstable work environment, increased work demands, low pay and the modern pace of life, act with other risk factors to increase cardiovascular disease. One or two glasses of wine a day reduce the risk of a heart attack by 22 percent. Over five glasses doubles the risk. The middle classes are 45 percent more likely to get coronary heart disease than the upper classes and slightly more likely to get it than the lower classes. Twenty out of 120 people exposed to passive smoking will develop coronary heart disease as a result. High cholesterol blood levels increase the danger of coronary heart disease by 75 percent to 450 percent, depending on the individual.