Risks of Heart Disease in Men

One in every four deaths among men is caused by heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Unfortunately, many men at risk for heart disease have no symptoms. And half of the men who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have no previous symptoms. Some men face a higher risk for heart disease because they have risk factors that can’t be changed. African-American men have a greater risk compared to white men. Having a family history, no matter your race, is another risk factor. Getting older also raises your risk. The majority of people who die of heart disease are 65 and older.

 

Here’s the good news: you can lower your risk for heart disease and heart attack by making healthy choices.

 

The three top risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol and smoking are all connected to personal choices.

Tips for Heart Health

Follow these tips to help keep your heart healthy:

  • Eat a healthy diet. You should eat fruits and vegetables at every meal. Avoid processed foods. You can prevent high cholesterol by eating foods low in cholesterol, saturated fats and trans fats. Choose high fiber foods, such as raspberries and oatmeal.

    Limit sodium in your diet to lower your blood pressure. Most people get too much sodium on a daily basis.

    Limiting sugars may not sound like a sweet idea but it can lower your blood sugar level, which can prevent or help control diabetes. If you need help changing the way you eat, consult a Registered Dietitian for advice.

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Go ahead, step on the scale. If you’re overweight or have obesity, remember that losing weight can lower your risk for heart disease. Aim for a body mass index – the ratio of weight to height – between 18.5 and 25. Ask your doctor for advice if you have trouble losing weight or struggle to keep the pounds off.

  • Exercise regularly. Don’t feel guilty making time for the gym. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and improve your cholesterol and blood pressure. Adults should exercise 2.5 hours every week. Research also shows that 30 minutes of physical activity on five days of the week has measurable health benefits.

  • Don’t smoke. Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk for heart disease. Your doctor can suggest ways to help you quit. Look for more tips at smokefree.gov.

  • Drink in moderation, or not at all. Too much alcohol causes high blood pressure. The daily limit for men is two alcoholic drinks.

  • See your doctor. Schedule an annual check-up with your health provider. Make sure you know whether you have high blood pressure or high LDL cholesterol. The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have it measured. Take medication as directed, if recommended.