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10 Facts You Must Know About Heart Disease  

It kills more men in a year than any other ailment. But you can protect yourself, starting now

By Mike McMullan

1. Heart disease refers to several different types of heart conditions, starting with coronary heart disease. That’s when plaque builds up and narrows the walls of your arteries, which pump blood to your heart. It’s the most common kind.

2. Heart failure, irregular heartbeat, heart valve problems, and heart attack all fall under the banner, too.

3. Heart disease is man’s biggest killer. In 2009, 307,225 guys died from ticker trouble in the U.S.—or 1 out of 4 male deaths.

4. Nearly half of all sudden cardiac deaths occur outside the hospital, which suggests that people can’t spot a majority of the symptoms.

5. Worse: 50 percent of guys who die from heart disease have never experienced previous symptoms before. You can always be at risk.

6. The list of risk factors shouldn’t be a surprise: High blood pressure, smoking, excessive alcohol use, high cholesterol, a poor diet, obesity, and physical inactivity all top the list. If you’re generally unhealthy, you significantly up your odds of developing heart disease.

7. Your family history is also strongly linked to your risk for heart disease, so let your doctor know if any relatives have had it.

8. As for the warning signs, keep an eye out for shortness of breath, nausea, chest pain, lightheadedness, upper body pains, and cold sweats. If any persist, see your doc, stat.

9. Fortunately, it’s easy to protect your ticker. Start by eating a healthy diet that’s low in salt, saturated fat, and cholesterol; ditching cigarettes; exercising regularly; and following your doctor’s instructions.

10. The two absolute best ways to slash your risk of dying from the disease: lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol. About 70 percent of first heart-attack victims have high BP, while people with high total cholesterol levels have almost twice the risk of heart disease as those with regular levels.

Source URL: http://www.menshealth.com/health/10-facts-must-know-heart-disease

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