Two very important studies which changed the scenario of definitive control of heart attacks are North Karelia Project and Interheart Study. They were distinct as they showed that to control heart attacks we need to reduce all the risk factors together. Most of the studies showed the effects of reducing one or two factors on heart disease – some showed the effects of lowering Cholesterol, some showed the effects of lowering of only Blood Pressure and so on.
North Karelia Project:
This research demonstration project changed the food habits, exercise habits, smoking habits of the entire population of a state (North Karelia) of Finland through extensive education, and training. They assessed the number of heart attacks in the whole state initially. Then they helped the whole population to give up meats, cut down fats in the milk, reduce weight, exercise daily, reduced Blood Pressure, controlled Diabetes trained them on cutting stress and encouraged them to eat fruits and vegetables. They found out the cases of heart attack drastically reduced in the entire population. This project was then implemented to the whole country and Finland became the first country in the world to reduce the number of heart attacks of the entire country by 80%.
This is another landmark study that showed that 90-95% of heart attacks can be prevented by controlling eight risk factors only. This study conducted by the Canadian legendry heart researcher of Indian origin, Dr. Salim Yusuf. He and his team from all over the world took 15000 cases of heart attacks in 52 countries and compared them with another 15000 cases who did not suffer from a heart attack. The entire history, blood tests, calculations, and hard statistics showed that controlling eight factors – Lipids (Cholesterol, Triglycerides, HDL), Blood Pressure, Diabetes, smoking, psychological stress, lack of physical activity, intake of fruits and vegetables, intake of Alcohol – can stop almost 90-95% of heart attacks. This study was published in the most prestigious medical journal Lancet in 2004 changed the whole concept of heart disease prevention. The medical science had to agree that this may be the best, cheapest, and most scientific way of treating heart disease.