Men’s Health: Cardiovascular Disease
Some say men are “endangered species” with a statistic pointing out that, on average, men die five years earlier than women. While there are many factors that influence this statistic, we will look at one big contributor to male mortality – cardiovascular diseases.
There is a truism that says “men put health last”, where most men are preoccupied with living up to their roles in society to the detriment of their health. Guys, it’s time to take charge of your health and the sooner you do it, the better for you and those you love. You shouldn’t wait till you have a health-scare or a life-threatening emergency to have simple precautions like a health insurance plan or annual checks. Men need to care about their health above the waistline as well as below.
We’ll break down this leading threat to men’s health and give you some tips.
Cardiovascular or heart disease is a term that includes many specific heart conditions like coronary artery disease(CAD), chest pain AKA angina, heart failure and irregular heartbeats. CAD is the narrowing of the arteries and it develops when cholesterol plaque gradually block the arteries and therefore oxygen to the heart. This can cause a heart attack or a stroke.
Major symptoms of a heart attack include:
- Chest discomfort: This discomfort is usually in the centre of the chest and can last for a few minutes or come in waves. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain
- Upper body discomfort: This can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach
- Shortness of Breath: This may occur before or in conjunction with chest discomfort
- Others: Some people may break out in a cold sweat, feel nauseated or light-headed.
Tips to prevent cardiovascular disease
- Exercise and be active for at least 30minutes, 3-5x a week.
- Eat right, preferably a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol and high in fibre.
- If you’re overweight – lose weight and keep a healthy weight
- Quit smoking and drink in moderation – smokers are up to 4 times more likely to develop plaque in the coronary arteries. Both smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
- Reduce emotional stress – take a day off to relax, read a book and listen to the ocean.
If in spite of your best efforts, your cholesterol remains high, discuss with your doctor.
It is very easy to put off making these changes, you keep meaning to get better and exercise but you stall, make excuses and the years slide by. Then you feel you’re too old and can’t make any changes that will make a difference now – this is not true. The die is not cast and studies show that even people with full-fledged heart disease live longer ‘if’ they make positive changes in their lives.
So just do it!