The Centers For Disease Control reported in 2013 that the percentage of men dying of heart disease was 24.6%
In spite of better technology and better public awareness about the risk factors for heart disease, it remains the number one cause of death in men in the US.
Statistics reported by the Centers For Disease Control are a rude awakening:
• Heart disease kills about 300,000 men every year. This amounts to about 1 in every 4 deaths among men.
• It is the leading cause of death for men of most ethnic groups in the US, including Caucasians, African Americans, American Indians, and Hispanics. It is the second leading cause of death among Asians in the US (behind cancer).
• About half of all men who suddenly die of heart disease have had no prior symptoms. This means that even if you suffer from no heart disease symptoms, you may still have heart disease.
• About 70 to 89% of sudden cardiac deaths occur in men.
What Is Heart Disease
The term “heart disease” involves much more than a heart attack.
Three separate diseases fall under the umbrella of heart disease:
• Cerebrovascular disease: This is a condition in which plaques form in the arteries leading to or inside the brain. The carotid arteries in the neck are the main arteries involved in plaque formation and are the ones most commonly involves in strokes. The plaques narrow the arteries and blood clots within the narrowed artery, resulting in a blocked artery and a stroke.
• Heart Attack: A heart attack involves having plaque formation and narrowing of the coronary arteries of the heart. Similar to a stroke, the plaques narrow the coronary arteries and a blood clot forms in the narrowed area, blocking blood flow to the heart muscle, leading to a heart attack.
• Peripheral vascular disease: People with heart attacks and stroke are also at a greater risk of peripheral vascular disease. In this condition, the arteries leading to the legs become clogged with cholesterol and calcium-containing plaques. This leads to decreased blood flow to the legs and symptoms of claudication, which is pain in the calves or thighs when walking longer distances. If a blood vessel also develops a clot in the narrowed portion, the circulation to the legs is lost and gangrene can form.
There are three major risk factors for heart disease in men, including:
• High blood pressure
• Smoking cigarettes
• Elevated LDL cholesterol
These are common risk factors. The National Institutes Of Health report that about 49% of all American live with at least 1 of the 3 main risk factors for heart disease.
Many other health conditions and lifestyle factors increase the risk of a man getting heart disease. These include the following:
• Being overweight or obese
• Having diabetes
• Having a poor diet high in saturated fat
• Being physically inactive
• Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol
Preventing Heart Disease
Heart disease can be prevented in many ways. Some things you can do to decrease the risk of having heart disease include the following:
• Maintain a normal weight: This means eating fewer calories and watching the amount of saturated fat in the diet
• Get aerobic exercise: This means getting 30 minutes of aerobic exercise like running, swimming, or walking on most days of the week
• Quitting smoking: Smoking is one of the major risk factors for heart disease
• Maintaining good diabetic control: This means watching the diet and taking medications to keep blood sugars under control. It also means screenings in the form of blood tests, especially for men at high risk for type 2 diabetes
• Lowering cholesterol: This can be done by taking medications to reduce cholesterol and be eating a low cholesterol diet
• Maintaining a normal blood pressure: This can be done by taking medications for high blood pressure and exercising regularly