Improving Heart Health During Men’s Health Month
June is Men’s Health Month. As we promote a healthier lifestyle for men, it’s important to focus on heart health. Cardiovascular health is crucial to the overall health of men. In 2019, over 350,000 men died from cardiovascular disease, which represents approximately 1 in 4 deaths in men. In terms of overall risk for heart disease, men develop heart disease at a younger age and higher rate than women.
Heart disease in men comes in many forms. Coronary heart disease, arrhythmias, valve disease, heart failure, and congenital heart disease are just a few of them. While there are many different cardiac diseases that affect men, the list of risk factors and ways you can mitigate risk are often similar.
The great news about improving cardiovascular health is that there are many small steps you can take to make an impact. We recommend picking one area to focus on first. Then, as changes in that area become part of your regular routine, pick another area to focus on. These ideas can help get you started on the path to better health.
Get an annual physical
This one is a great place to start. Men are less likely than women to get an annual physical, yet they tend to develop coronary artery disease at a younger age. This month, take the time to schedule your annual appointment.
Know the signs of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke
When you or someone around you is having a heart attack or stroke, quick intervention is key to a better outcome, so take some time to learn the symptoms of heart attack and stroke. It’s also important to know some of the common symptoms of heart disease, such as shortness of breath, fatigue, chest discomfort, and pain or weakness in your arms or legs.
Check your diet
There is always room for more fruits and vegetables on your plate. Most Americans do not get enough of either most days. Challenge yourself to add one more to your plate daily and keep adding from there.
Exercise protects your heart and lowers risk for most heart diseases. It also helps reduce weight or maintain a healthy weight, another important aspect of heart health. Moderate exercise on a regular basis will improve your health overall. Whether it’s walking, running, biking, or playing basketball, start moving today.
Make a plan to quit smoking
If you are a smoker, quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do to lower your risk for heart disease. Quitting is a challenge, but a plan will help you. Seek out resources, information, and support as you kick the habit for good. Talk to your Oklahoma Heart Hospital physician about available resources to help you quit.