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Men & Heart Disease

One in five men has some form of cardiovascular disease. There are steps you can take to avoid heart disease. There are many types of "heart" or cardiovascular disease (CVD). Some include; heart attack, heart failure, high blood pressure, stroke and peripheral artery disease. To understand more, visit The American Heart Association Link Opens in a New Window.

If your family has a history of heart disease, you have an increased chance of developing it. However, there are many risk factors that you can reduce by making healthy lifestyle choices.

Major risk factors for heart disease:

  • Diets high in fat and/or lacking fruits and vegetables
  • Insufficient physical activity
  • High blood pressure/hypertension
  • High cholesterol
  • High stress
  • Overweight/obesity
  • Excessive use of alcohol
  • Tobacco Use

A healthy diet is the first step toward prevention. Visit Men & Nutrition Link Opens in a New Window for more information. Hypertension and high cholesterol levels can be improved by a low-fat, high fiber diet. Changes in everyday habits, not necessarily dieting, can also help with weight maintenance and prevention of obesity.

Regular physical activity is an important step you can take in reducing your risk factors for heart disease. Moderate physical activity helps keep your cardiovascular system in good shape. Try to make moderate physical activity part of your routine 30 minutes a day most days of the week. Regular exercise can have the additional benefit of reducing stress.

Tobacco use is a major risk factor for heart disease. Quitting smoking is not easy. You may not be able to quit smoking on your first try, but when you eventually quit the health benefits are well worth the effort. HAP has resources to help you quit. HAP's iStrive® for Better Health offers a free health assessment, digital tools and programs powered by WebMD Health Services. Talk to your physician about available smoking cessation programs such as the Tobacco Intervention Program.

Reducing your risk factors and taking preventive health measures is the best way to avoid heart disease, but sometimes heart disease occurs despite the best efforts of prevention. Recognizing the onset of a heart attack and getting treatment promptly can make a significant difference in survival.

Symptoms/signs of heart attack:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Build up of excess fluid in body tissues
  • Tiredness, fatigue
  • Lack of appetite, nausea
  • Confusion, impaired thinking
  • Increased heart rate
  • Chest pain with tingling in left arm

If you or someone you know experiences one or more of these symptoms, seek medical attention promptly.

Reducing your risk factors for heart disease is an important part of preventive health. Talk to your doctor to find out more about heart disease and risk factors that are specific to you. All men over the age or 44 should be assessed for cardiovascular disease risk according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations. You can also learn more about men and heart disease from the American Heart Association Link Opens in a New Window.

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