A lack of education, an unhealthy diet, and unemployment go straight to the heart—quite literally, because all three range among the risks that cause ischemic heart disease or contribute to its development. According to a recent study reported by epidemiologists Andreas und Maximilian Stang in Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2014; 111: 530-6), the risk factors for heart disease are higher in Saxony-Anhalt than in all other German states, and more persons die from heart disease in the state.
Many of the risk factors could be treated in a more targeted manner, the authors stress. In Saxony-Anhalt, a greater need exists for prevention and therapy of diabetes, hypertension, and obesity, for example. Patients need to be identified and put on drug regimens more efficiently. However, the main challenge is a political one: the social environment needs to be improved. Poor school education and unemployment in Saxony-Anhalt are important risk factors for ischemic heart disease. The politics of the state need to provide for a healthier environment—one of the epidemiologists' conclusions.