Important Information on Heart Disease
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men of most racial/ethnic groups in the United States, including African-Americans, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Hispanics and whites. For Asian-American or Pacific Islander men, heart disease is second only to cancer.
Half of the men who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have no previous symptoms. Even if you have no symptoms, you may still be at risk for heart disease.
Between 70% and 89% of sudden cardiac events occur in men.
SCHEDULE REGULAR TUNE-UPS
1. Skipping Preventive Care
Too often men keep their cars more finely tuned than their bodies. Sadly, men are less likely to go to the doctor for annual checkups, or to report symptoms like chest pain, breathlessness and fatigue.
ACTION: If you can’t remember your last physical exam, it’s time to schedule one as soon as possible. And always act quickly if you feel something’s “off.”
2. Ignoring Erection Problems
Impotence is mainly caused by a problem with blood flow to the penis and is an early sign of damage to blood vessels of the heart.
ACTION: Don’t be embarrassed to see a doctor about erectile dysfunction. Your evaluation should include an assessment of your overall heart health.
3. “I’m too Young for a Heart Attack.”
Men with a family history of early heart attack—before age 65—may be at higher risk for the same fate, even as early as their 30s and 40s.
ACTION: Whatever your age, start managing your risk factors: follow a heart-healthy diet, exercise regularly, practice weight control and stop smoking.
4. Denying your bad habits could be fatal
You may actually be masking depression, a physical condition linked to heart disease, and a condition many men do not wish to readily discuss. Be assured that this is what your personal physician is for.
ACTION: If you’re feeling sad or hopeless, or experiencing changes in the way you eat or sleep, tell your doctor and ask for advice.
5. Thinking “My health problems run in my family”
ACTION: Tell your doctor about your family health history; assess your risks with further testing, and ask about preventative behavior and/or medications.