Heart Disease and Men
Heart disease is a term that includes several more specific heart conditions. The most common heart disease in the US is coronary heart disease (CHD). CHD occurs when the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle become hardened and narrowed due to the buildup of plaque. The narrowing and buildup of plaque is called atherosclerosis. Plaque is a mixture of fatty and other substances including cholesterol and other lipids. When plaque builds up in the coronary arteries, blood flow to the heart is reduced, which reduces oxygen to the heart muscle. This can lead to a heart attack. Other heart conditions include angina, heart failure, and arrhythmias.
- Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men of most racial/ethnic groups in the United States.
- About 1 in 12 (8.7%) White men, 1 in 15 (6.7%) Black men, and 1 in 15 (6.8%) Hispanic men have coronary heart disease. (Table 20-1: Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2021 Updateexternal icon)
- Even if you have no symptoms, you may still be at risk for heart disease.
Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. Limit foods and drinks high in calories, sugar, salt, fat, and alcohol. Choose healthy snacks.
Be active for at least 2½ hours a week. Include activities that raise your breathing and heart rates and that strengthen your muscles. You don't have to do it all at once. Spread your activity out during the week, and break it into smaller chunks of time during the day.
Some medical conditions (such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes) and lifestyle factors (such as an unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and alcohol or tobacco use) can increase your risk of developing heart disease.
Just because you may feel fine doesn't mean you don't need your annual check-up. Certain diseases and conditions may not have symptoms, so check-ups help diagnose issues early or before they can become a problem. See your doctor or nurse for regular check-ups.
- Eat a heart healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, low in saturated fat, sodium, and added sugar . Choosing healthful meal and snack options can help you avoid heart disease and its complications.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or having obesity can increase your risk for heart disease.
- Exercise regularly. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. The Surgeon General recommends adults engage in moderate-intensity exercise for 2 hours and 30 minutes every week.
- Don’t smoke. Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease, so if you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk for heart disease. Your doctor can suggest ways to help you quit.
- Limit alcohol use. Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which causes high blood pressure.