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Survey warns of a spike in heart disease, aneurisms

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Greeks face a significantly higher risk of heart disease and other serious illnesses unless they make radical changes to their lifestyles, according to the results of a new study by the Athens Medical School.

The study highlights the risks posed by high blood pressure, stress, excess weight and smoking.

According to its findings, which were presented on Wednesday, the frequency of heart disease will increase by 19 percent by 2030 if Greeks fail to improve their lifestyles and diets while the frequency of aneurisms will increase by some 15 percent.

Around one in three Greeks has high blood pressure with about the same proportion suffering from high cholesterol and nearly one in four Greek adults smoking, according to the survey which was conducted on a nationwide sample of 6,000 people over the past year.

The survey found that 39 percent of men and 33 percent of women have high blood pressure. Of the male respondents, 37 percent had high cholesterol while the proportion for women was 34 percent.

A total of 45 percent of men and 30 percent of women were overweight. Scientists expressed particular concern about men aged under 30 as a third were found to have high blood pressure and more than half (51 percent) were overweight.

The same survey found that one in three Greeks described the state of their health as moderate to bad while two in 10 said they suffered from stress or depression.

In a related development, the Hellenic Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO) on Wednesday presented figures confirming a trend that ranks Greece first among European Union member states as regards the consumption of antibiotics, with 47.4 percent of Greeks claiming to have taken antibiotics at least once in the past year.