East Germans die more often from heart attacks

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East Germans die more often from heart attacks

According to a study, people in eastern Germany die more often from a heart attack than in the west. Regional differences such as unemployment and poverty could be an explanation for this, but other causes have to play an important role.

According to a study by the German Society for Thoracic, Cardiac and Vascular Surgery (DGTHG) and the German Society for Cardiology, East Germans die more often from the consequences of a heart attack than in the West. According to the study results, the death rate is lowest in the federal states of Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg. The federal states of Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt and Brandenburg, on the other hand, have the highest rate of deaths. For example, the death rate in the Hanseatic city of Hamburg is 18.1 percent lower than the national average. In contrast, the death rate in Saxony-Anhalt is 23.2 percent higher than the national average. The results of the study were determined using the data from 2008. During this period, a total of 56,775 people died of a heart attack. The heart report was presented on Friday by the two companies in Duisburg.

A heart attack is an acute emergency
A heart attack is considered a medical emergency that needs to be treated very quickly. This is an acute circulatory disorder due to vascular occlusion of parts of the heart muscle. Due to the low blood flow, parts of the heart muscle inevitably die. The reasons for a heart attack are very different. The most common cause of an infarction is an unhealthy lifestyle. Lack of exercise, obesity, smoking, and genetic predisposition potentiate the risks of serious cardiovascular disease. Most of the time, essential factors combine, so that the risk of heart attack increases. If patients are affected by a heart attack, quick medical help must be provided. It is essential that the quality and speed of the emergency services are guaranteed. In the state of Schleswig-Holstein e.g. emergency services are required to be at an emergency location within twelve minutes. If the rescue service needs half an hour, it can be too late for a heart attack.

According to the President of the Heart Society DGTHG, Prof. Friedhelm Beyersdorf, factors such as high unemployment may play a role, but alone cannot explain the high death rate in East Germany. Because there are also regions in Germany with a high heart attack death rate without a high unemployment rate. "Ultimately, we can only speculate about the causes," says Beyersdorf.

Other studies indicate at least that there is a link between unemployment and sick leave. Sickness is mostly higher among the unemployed than among employees subject to social security. However, there are no figures or studies that indicate an increased risk of death among the unemployed.

Survival rate for bypass surgery is constantly high
As the heart society also reports, the survival rate in bypass surgery has been a constant 97 percent for many years. Even though the proportion of older patients has increased significantly. In the elderly, there are also other risk factors such as type II diabetes and high blood pressure in addition to the heart disease. In cardiac aortic valve surgery, the success rate has risen to the same level as in bypasses. (gr, 10/01/2010)

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Author and source information

Video: Understanding Heart Attacks - Part 1


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