Once you get past a certain age, it seems like all too often a friend or relative suffers a heart attack or serious symptoms of heart disease. But what many don’t know is that half of men who die suddenly of heart disease had no previous symptoms. And between 70 and 89 per cent of sudden cardiac events occur in men.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States. Nearly half of all Americans have at least one of the top risk factors for heart disease including high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol or smoking. Diabetes, obesity, poor diet, physical inactivity and excessive alcohol use also put people at a higher risk for heart disease.
Overall men and women are equally at risk for heart disease but on average women develop coronary artery disease about 10 years later than men. The following are 10 steps middle-aged and older men can take right now to help prevent heart disease:
- Stop smoking
- Visit your doctor regularly for check-ups and follow treatment plans for high blood cholesterol or high blood pressure.
- Eat a healthy diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low fat dairy, fish, poultry and legumes.
- Get moving! Getting regular exercise daily can lower your risk factors.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Reduce stress
- Limit alcohol
- Manage diabetes
- Learn the warning signs of a heart attack
- In your 60s, an ankle-brachial index test can diagnose Peripheral Arterial Disease
Men tend to avoid visiting the doctor if they don’t feel unwell but catching a problem early, like high blood pressure or high cholesterol can help prevent heart attack and stroke. There’s really no good reason not to see a doctor for an annual check-up, only excuses in order to avoid hearing some hard truths.
To learn more about preventing heart disease at any age, visit the American Health Association website by following this link.