Heart disease remains the leading cause of death for men globally, affecting millions of lives each year. While it is a serious health condition, the good news is that many risks can be managed and controlled. By equipping ourselves with knowledge and adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle, we can take charge of our health and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Here are some key points to consider:
Understanding Heart Disease:
Heart disease refers to various conditions that affect the heart, including coronary artery disease, heart attacks, heart failure and arrhythmias. These conditions can develop due to factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, smoking, diabetes, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle.
Recognizing Risk Factors:
Men may have a higher risk of heart disease due to both biological and lifestyle factors. Age, family history, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, obesity, diabetes and stress are some common risk factors. It is vital to the prevention of heart disease to be aware of these risk factors and take steps to mitigate them.
Promoting a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle:
Adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle is one of the most effective ways to prevent heart disease. Encourage regular exercise, such as brisk walking, cycling or swimming, for at least 150 minutes per week. A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats is essential. Minimize the consumption of processed foods, sugary drinks and sodium-rich foods.
Quitting smoking and limiting alcohol intake are also crucial steps toward better heart health.
Regular Health Checkups:
Regular health checkups play a vital role in identifying potential risk factors and detecting early signs of heart disease. Encourage fellow men in our community to schedule regular appointments with their healthcare provider to monitor blood pressure, cholesterol levels and other relevant health markers. Early detection and timely intervention can significantly improve outcomes.
Trinity Health offers these screenings in addition to routine screenings through a program called MyChoice Health Checks, a menu of low-cost health screenings.
A few of the screenings that you can purchase that contribute to the early detection and prevention of heart disease are:
Carotid Artery Disease Screening: This screening looks for the build-up of plaque in the carotid arteries. ($35)
CT for Calcium Scoring: This CT looks for developing plaque/calcium in the coronary arteries, which can lead to a heart attack. ($60)
Electrocardiogram (EKG): An EKG can check your heart for rhythm, see if you have poor blood flow to the heart muscle, diagnose a heart attack and check for abnormalities such as a thickened heart muscle. ($20)
Each of these screenings is followed up with a letter from the radiologist or cardiologist. These screenings are performed at Trinity’s Advanced Imaging Center, located at Trinity Health Town and Country, 831 South Broadway, 701-857-3200.
Mental Health Matters:
Mental health is an integral part of overall well-being, and it also impacts heart health. High levels of stress, anxiety and depression can increase the risk of heart disease. Promote stress management techniques such as exercise, meditation, adequate sleep and engaging in activities that bring joy and relaxation.
Community Support and Education:
Coming together as a community to support each other in adopting heart-healthy habits is another way to start heart disease prevention.
By prioritizing heart health and making informed choices, we can reduce the burden of heart disease on men within our community. Remember, it’s never too late to start taking care of your heart!
If you have any questions or would like to learn more about heart disease prevention, feel free to reach out to your Primary Care provider or call DR4U at 857-DR4U (3748). Stay heart-healthy and stay well!