MedUni Vienna: Increasing risks lead to rise in cardiovascular diseases

New MedUni Vienna guide to heart health published

Every year, approximately 17.3 million people are currently dying of cardiovascular disease every year. According to projections by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the number will rise to 23.6 million per year by 2030 despite the enormous advances in cardiac medicine. The prognosis is to be seen in connection with the increasing importance of risk factors such as obesity, diabetes and stress, especially in the western world. Against the background of this development, Christian Hengstenberg and a team of authors from MedUni Vienna have written the book "Herzgesundheit schützen, stärken, wiederherstellen" (Protect, strengthen and restore heart health). The scientifically sound and generally understandable guide has just been published by MANZ-Verlag in MedUni Vienna's "Gesundheit.Wissen" (Health.Knowledge) series.

Virtually all risks to heart health can be "minimised and often even eliminated" through lifestyle changes and/or medication, encourages Christian Hengstenberg, Head of the University Department of Internal Medicine II and the Clinical Department of Cardiology at MedUni Vienna, to take preventive action. For example, studies show that merely five to ten minutes of daily exercise significantly reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. It has also been scientifically proven that lowering the systolic ("first") blood pressure value by just 5 mm HG reduces the risk of suffering a heart attack by ten percent. The heart health of smokers, whose risk of heart attack is twice as high as that of lifelong non-smokers, demonstrably and measurably benefits from quitting smoking even at an advanced age.

Due to its increasing prevalence, obesity and its consequences such as high blood pressure, elevated blood lipid and blood sugar levels as well as diabetes mellitus type II take on a particularly high priority in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. "In these cases, drug therapies are often necessary to prevent damage to the cardiovascular system," emphasises Christian Hengstenberg. "However, lifestyle measures also harbour many benefits in this instance." Weight reduction, dietary changes and regular exercise can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in those affected.

Heart attack through stress

Dealing with (negative) stress is particularly important in the prevention of heart problems. "When heart attack patients are asked what they believe led to their illness, almost fifty percent of them cite stress as the cause," reports Christian Hengstenberg from his practice. Chronic stress in particular has been proven in studies to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, acute stress can also have a direct impact on the heart. Therefore, ways to cope with stress are an indispensable part of a (heart)healthy life.

Christian Hengstenberg and his team from the Division of Cardiology at the Department of Internal Medicine II at MedUni Vienna highlight other important factors for the protection of the cardiovascular system in their recently published guide. The authors also provide an overview of the most common cardiovascular diseases and the diagnostic and therapeutic options available to restore or, better still, maintain heart health.

Book tip:

"Herzgesundheit schützen, stärken, wiederherstellen", Christian Hengstenberg (Editor.)
Series "Gesundheit.Wissen" of MedUni Wien, MANZ-Verlag, ISBN: 978-3-214-04243-1,
210 pages, 23.90 Euro, available at book stores and under

The sender takes full responsibility for the content of this news item. Content may include forward-looking statements which, at the time they were made, were based on expectations of future events. Readers are cautioned not to rely on these forward-looking statements.

As a life sciences organization based in Vienna, would you like us to promote your news and events? If so, please send your contributions to news(at)