Key Factors In Men And Heart Disease
Despite advances in the medical treatment of heart disease, this condition is the number one killer of men, particularly in middle and older age.
Why do men die of heart disease at a greater rate than women do, and what are the factors leading to heart disease in men?
Reasons Why Men Have Heart Disease
There are a number of factors leading to a man getting heart disease over women. These include the following:
• Testosterone effect – Males have a greater amount of testosterone in their system when compared to women. Testosterone increases the amount of LDL cholesterol in the blood. LDL cholesterol is the type of cholesterol that sits on the walls of arteries, leading to plaques that can block coronary arteries, leading to heart attacks.
• High blood pressure – Men are much less likely than women to seek medical attention for any condition and high blood pressure is no different. Men sit with their high blood pressure untreated for many years. This leads to an increased risk of getting heart disease.
• Diabetes – Men also aren’t screened for diabetes, which has no real symptoms unless it is severe. In living with untreated diabetes, they put themselves at risk for diabetic complications, which includes a risk of heart disease.
• Type A personalities – Men who live stressful lives and who have type A personalities also live with the consequences of having this type of personality, including increased blood pressure and higher levels of adrenal hormones that contribute to getting heart disease.
• Stress levels – Men often work in high stress jobs and this can lead to overeating and the participation in unhealthy behaviors such as alcohol use and smoking. No one knows the exact role of stress in getting heart disease but it appears that it may lead to hormonal changes in the body that contribute to getting heart disease.
• Sedentary lifestyles – Men who don’t exercise put themselves at risk of becoming obese, which is a risk factor for heart disease. Men who exercise less than 30 minutes a day on most days of the week are more prone to becoming overweight and developing heart disease.
• Smoking – Men who smoke run the risk of heart disease. Smoking increases blood pressure and causes changes in the body’s vasculature that results in a higher risk of developing all types of heart disease, including stroke, heart attack, and peripheral vascular disease.
What Men Can Do To Decrease Their Risk Of Heart Disease?
While men cannot change the amount of testosterone in their bodies, there are modifiable risk factors for heart disease that are relatively easier to include as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Some Things A Man Can Do To Reduce The Risk Of Heart Disease Include The Following:
• Eat a healthy diet. Diets that are low in fat and high in complex carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables can decrease your weight. These foods are also high in antioxidants, which can prevent cellular damage in the heart.
• Stay active. Men who exercise at least 30 minutes per day 4 days a week will have better cardiovascular health. The best kinds of exercise to do for heart health are aerobic exercises, which get the heart rate and respirations up. This can exercise your heart and is known to decrease the rate of heart disease. Aerobic exercises, such as jogging, swimming, bicycling, and running are all heart healthy exercises to do.
• Decrease stress levels. As stress can contribute to heart disease, stress reduction techniques like exercise and meditation can reduce the levels of adrenal hormones that raise blood pressure and heart rate. Reduced stress can decrease the risk of heart disease.
• Quit smoking. Smoking is a risk factor for heart disease, especially cigarette smoking. By quitting smoking, you can reduce your risk of heart disease by a substantial amount.