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Do Men Have a Higher Risk for Heart Disease?

June is Men’s Health Month, an excellent opportunity to remind men of the importance of health screenings. Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States, and men have unique risk factors that put them at a higher risk for heart disease than women, particularly at younger ages. 

Here at CA Heart and Vein Specialists, cardiovascular physician Majed Chane, MD, and our team of health professionals specialize in diagnosing and managing chronic heart and vein conditions. During the month of June, we strive to increase awareness about the preventable nature of heart disease. 

There are steps you can take and screenings available to help you keep your heart as healthy as possible, and it starts with knowing your risk. 

Understanding the risk factors for heart disease in men

Several factors contribute to men’s increased risk of heart disease. These include both biological and lifestyle factors that impact cardiovascular health:

Biological factors

Men tend to develop heart disease earlier in life compared to women. Part of the reason is that estrogen in women offers some protection against heart disease until menopause. Men don’t have this protective factor and thus are at risk earlier.

Lifestyle choices

Men are more likely to engage in behaviors that are unhealthy for the heart, such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. They’re also more likely to eat a diet higher in fats and sodium, which contributes to issues like high blood pressure and poor cardiovascular health.

Chronic stress

Men often face higher levels of workplace stress and are less likely to seek help for stress management. They also may adopt less healthy coping strategies, and often leave chronic stress unchecked, which further increases heart disease risk.

Higher rates of hypertension

High blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease, is more common in men than in women at younger ages. What’s more, less than half of those diagnosed with high blood pressure are treated and have it well-controlled. 

Screening and prevention strategies

Men should get regular health screenings that include:

Cholesterol check

It’s recommended that men at average risk start cholesterol screening at age 18 and screen every five years. Men with the following risk factors may need to screen more often:

Talk to Dr. Chane about the recommended screening frequency if you have any of these risk factors.

Blood pressure monitoring

Keeping your blood pressure within a healthy range is part of living a healthier life. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. 

Men under age 40, with normal blood pressure and no heart disease risk factors, should screen at least once every two years. Men age 40 and over and those with heart disease risk factors should undergo screening more often.

Advanced screenings

For men concerned about heart disease or those who have current symptoms or multiple risk factors, we offer advanced screenings such as treadmill stress testing with nuclear imaging. This test provides a detailed look at how well the heart functions during physical activity. We also recommend it for men recovering from heart surgery or a heart attack. 

Lifestyle strategies

In addition to screening and managing risk factors like high blood pressure, it’s crucial to adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle. This includes eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, getting regular physical activity, quitting smoking, and limiting alcohol intake.

Expert cardiovascular care 

Addressing the heart disease risks you face as a man promotes a longer, healthier life. 

If you're concerned about heart disease, consult with the CA Heart and Vein Specialists team by calling our Huntington Beach, California, office or requesting an appointment online today. Our team can develop a personalized plan to protect your heart health.

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