We’ve all heard a joke about this stereotype in the past — someone’s husband, father, etc., rarely makes it a point to see a doctor. Unfortunately, preventive care is critical when it comes to heart disease among men. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s the leading cause of death among this population.
In recognition of Men’s Health Month, an interventional cardiologist with UT Physicians breaks down the symptoms of stress on the heart and ways to reduce the risk of irreversible disease.
Know the symptoms
Before diving into a list of symptoms to be aware of, it’s important to note that some heart issues may not have any warning signs. However, a clear indication of a problem is usually noticeable after exertion.
“Patients typically complain of chest discomfort or shortness of breath that may or may not radiate to the neck or left arm,” explained Konstantinos Charitakis, MD, associate professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston. “These symptoms usually reside with rest, aggravate with more strenuous activity, and progress over time.”
Other more major signs of a progressed problem can include heart failure, heart attack, and arrhythmia.
The basic rule of maintaining a healthy heart for men boils down to one simple thing — prevention is key. Reducing the risk of permanent damage can be as simple as:
- Avoiding smoking and tobacco products
- Regular exercise, a minimum of 200 minutes of aerobic exercise per week
- Balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables and reduced intake of saturated fat, red meat, and simple carbohydrates
- Annual visits with a physician
“It’s best to have regular checkups with a primary care or cardiology expert for a physical exam, lipid check, and bloodwork depending on your age, risk factors, and family history,” said Charitakis. Take your heart health seriously and schedule an appointment with a UT Physicians expert by calling 888-488-3627 or visiting this page.