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Education linked to heart risk

Education has a big influence on your risk of heart disease, it's been found

Most people believe eating well and getting lots of physical activity are the best methods to improve heart health and avoid a range of other diseases such as cancer.

But German scientists have found that the quality of your school education and whether or not you're in employment also has a significant effect on your heart.

Epidemiologists Andreas and Maximilian Stang wanted to find out why more people die from heart disease in Saxony-Anhalt than in any other German state, and why the risk factors are higher there than in the rest of Germany.

They said that a lack of good education and high levels of unemployment contribute significantly to the many heart deaths in the region. 

One of their main conclusions was that the Government needs to do more to change the social environment in Saxony-Anhalt if it wants to bring down the number of people dying from ischemic heart disease.

The Stangs also found that more must be done to prevent diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure in the region, and to better treat patients who have already been diagnosed.

They said that patients who are at risk or suffering from these conditions should be identified sooner and put on better drug regimens.

The risk factors identified in Saxony-Anhalt could also be treated "in a more targeted manner", they argued. 

The results of their study have been published in the journal Deutsches Arzteblatt International. 

Copyright Press Association 2014