OSLO, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- A study showed a majority of Norwegians who have had heart attack cannot give up unhealthy life style even after experiencing a potentially fatal infarction, newspaper Aftneposten reported Thursday.
Three out of five smokers continue to smoke, 81 percent are struggling with being overweight and 60 percent have little or no physical activity. Moreover, many of them are not properly medicated, according to the report.
The discouraging results showed that only two percent of the patients manage to follow the advices to reduce all the known risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. The majority do not have control of three or more risk factors.
Myocardial infarction, commonly known as heart attack, affects more than 13,000 Norwegians annually and is still one of the most common causes of death in the country.
A significant proportion of patients who have experienced heart attack get it again in a few years.
Over 90 percent of the risks for heart attack is associated with unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as smoking, obesity and insufficient physical activity. High blood pressure, high cholesterol and poorly regulated diabetes are also known risk factors.
The new study showed that more than half of total number of Norwegian patients continue with unhealthy lifestyle after the infarction.
Although most patients are prescribed medicines, only half treatment reached the target for blood pressure. Three out of five had unfavorable cholesterol, and three out of five diabetics had high long-term blood sugar.
The results are discouraging and surprising, said John Munkhaugen, acting chief of section for heart disease in medical department at Drammen hospital and leader of the study.
The researcher now work on finding out why health care does not have better results in treatment and follow-up of this large and important group of patients.
"This knowledge will be necessary to prevent future heart attacks and premature death," Munkhaugen told Aftenposten.
Munkhaugen added that heart patients are today discharged from the hospital four days after they have had a heart attack.
"This places high demands for further action from both hospitals and personal doctors. Cooperation between cardiologists at hospitals and general practitioners could be better in order to succeed with better treatment and follow-up of these patients," he said.
Norwegian Health Minister Bent Hoie said the study showed how difficult it is to change the lifestyle.
"Even after such a dramatic experience as a heart attack, it is easy to slip back to the old living habits. I think everyone can acknowledge that it is difficult to change lifestyle," he said.
Hoie added that it is important that health promotion continues to focus on reducing salt, sugar and fat in food.