Heart attacks in Bavaria: Heart Foundation supports educational campaign – with digital HeartFit app, Deutsche Herzstiftung eV, press release

Heart attacks are among the most common causes of death in Germany, with over 44,000 deaths in 2020, including over 6,400 in Bavaria alone (Bavarian Heart Attack Report). Heart attacks are not only one of the most common causes of death in Germany, they lead to more than 210,000 inpatient admissions nationwide each year (German Heart Report 2020) and are also the cause of serious heart diseases such as chronic heart failure. “Everyone can reduce their risk of a heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases with a health-promoting lifestyle. My goal is to sensitize people to the topic with our campaign ‘Hand on heart – active against heart attack’ and to motivate them to take precautions,” emphasized Bavaria’s Minister of Health Klaus Holetschek at the symposium on the heart attack campaign “Hand on heart” in Munich . According to the Health Minister, those who know the avoidable heart attack risk factors such as smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, unhealthy nutrition and psychosocial stress can effectively prevent high blood pressure, diabetes and dyslipidemia with the appropriate knowledge and motivation. “We support the heart attack campaign with an extensive free range of brochures developed jointly by independent heart specialists, a heart attack risk calculator and the newly developed HerzFit app for digital cardiovascular prevention,” emphasizes the cardiologist and Deputy Chairman of the German Heart Foundation Prof .Dr. medical Herbert Schunkert. “Anyone who wants to actively do something for a healthy heart and gain more competence in it should take advantage of our prevention offer, which tailors heart attack risk prevention to the individual situation of the user!” This is the appeal of the medical director of the German Heart Center Munich.

The app offers a wide range of information, compiled by the experts of the German Heart Foundation, and motivates people of all ages, but especially those over 45, to reduce their cardiovascular risk. While the risk of heart attack is mostly seen in men, women with risk factors can also be affected – the HerzFit app also specifically addresses their special features.

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Information on the free HerzFit app for smartphones (how it works, app stores) is available at www.herzstiftung.de/herzfit-app. Brochures for the “Hand on Heart” campaign can be ordered free of charge at https://handaufsherz.bayern. The primary goal of the Heart Foundation as a cooperation partner of the Bavarian State Ministry of Health and Care in the context of the campaign is to significantly reduce the mortality and incidence of heart attacks and strokes as well as other cardiovascular diseases such as cardiac insufficiency – with the help of targeted educational offers and the HeartFit app for Improving heart health and reducing the risk of heart attack. “We want to help everyone who is interested in their health to get to know the heart attack symptoms and risk diseases of heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases at an early stage, so that they can counteract the danger from these heart and vascular diseases in a more targeted manner,” says Schunkert .

HerziHeart attacks have a “history” of risk diseases

A heart attack usually occurs completely unexpectedly for those affected – almost out of the blue. However, the infarction is usually preceded by a process of narrowing of the coronary arteries lasting years due to arteriosclerotic plaques (“vascular calcification”). “In addition to factors that cannot be influenced, such as age and genetics, avoidable risk factors are also involved in the development of this coronary artery disease, or CHD for short, which we can effectively counteract through targeted prevention,” explains Schunkert. Millions of those affected in Germany and Bavaria have high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus and high cholesterol levels in the blood, which in turn are caused or promoted by an unhealthy lifestyle: smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, unhealthy nutrition and psychosocial stress. These insidious risk diseases, especially heart attack/CHD, cardiac insufficiency and stroke, often only become apparent when it is too late and they have caused organ damage (high blood pressure) or lead to a heart attack by damaging the inner lining of the coronary arteries (diabetes). It becomes particularly dangerous when high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes occur in combination with obesity as the “metabolic syndrome”. “Therefore, everyone must know these diseases and their causes and learn how one can successfully contribute to the prevention of these ‘silent killers’ by making lifestyle changes – whether as a healthy person or already ill,” emphasizes Prof. Schunkert. The HerzFit app provides information on this.

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HerzFit app: Digital helper for heart health

The new HerzFit app, developed by the German Heart Foundation together with the DigiMed Bayern project and the German Heart Center Munich, which is funded by the Bavarian State Ministry for Health and Care, and other partners, is a help for everyone who lives a healthy heart and wants to prevent a heart attack or stroke * was developed (information: www.herzstiftung.de/herzfit-app). “Our goal with the HerzFit app is to bring cardiovascular prevention into the everyday life of its users and to actively encourage each individual to improve heart health. The HerzFit app motivates people to lead a healthy lifestyle through regular exercise, a healthy diet and the avoidance of psychosocial stress,” explains Schunkert. To do this, the app combines the measurement of personal health data, including recording heart age, optimizing lifestyle and finding out about health topics into an individual digital health program to protect against cardiovascular diseases,” says the cardiologist. The heart attack risk test of the Heart Foundation has been completely modernized and integrated into the HerzFit app. The test can be used to record undiscovered risk factors and make them the focus of the next check-up at the family doctor.

Digital prevention in the sense of 4P medicine

When creating the HerzFit app, Schunkert, the initiator of the HerzFit app, and his team of developers from the DigiMed Bayern project based themselves on the principle of 4P medicine from oncology, i.e. on the key features of a preventive, personalised, precise and participatory approach Therapy. “With the app we are completely in line with this line, because it involves every individual in this project of better health and with the help of the app we bring motivation to people even more,” says the Heart Foundation Vice-Chairman.

*HerzFit – Die App of the German Heart Foundation was developed with the support of the partners Techniker Krankenkasse, the German Hypertension League and the German Heart Center Munich, the Technical University of Munich and DigiMed Bayern

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Information about the HerzFit app

The HerzFit app is available free of charge in the Apple Store (for iPhone) or in the Google Play Store (Android) for smartphones. Information on the HerzFit app and how it works is available at www.herzstiftung.de/herzfit-app.

Information material on the heart attack campaign (free of charge)

Affected and interested receive free information about the diagnosis, therapy and prevention of heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases via the campaign page https://handaufsherz.bayern

Find out more about the HerzFit app via the Heart Foundation podcast www.herzstiftung.de/podcast-herzfitapp and via the video clip at https://youtu.be/fcs2SCPZfTs

The Heart Foundation offers further advice for those affected on high blood pressure, diabetes and dyslipidemia (high cholesterol) free of charge at www.herzstiftung.de/bestellung

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