Heart disease is the number one killer of men in the U.S. Often, though, people don’t know they are at risk for heart problems.
Heart disease includes a number of conditions affecting the heart and the blood vessels in the heart. The most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease, which is the narrowing or blockage of the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart itself. This happens slowly over time and is a major reason people have heart attacks.
A man's risk of heart disease begins to rise greatly starting at age 45. You can lower your risk of heart disease by taking certain steps, including:
- Don't smoke or use other tobacco products.
- Get your blood pressure checked at least every two years.
- Ask your doctor if you need to have your cholesterol and triglyceride levels tested.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet.
- Limit alcohol use.
- Make physical activity a habit.
- Control diabetes, if you have it.
- Talk to your doctor about taking aspirin. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that men ages 45 to 79 take aspirin to lower their risk of heart attack when the benefit outweighs the possible harm of gastrointestinal bleeding. Discuss your personal risk of both heart disease and gastrointestinal bleeding with your doctor.
To take a free heart health profile offered by Memorial Hospital go to www.jacksonvillehearts.com.