With June being Men’s Health Month, it’s important to understand the leading causes of heart disease and what steps men can take to avoid serious illness that can lead to death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death for men of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States, killing 384,886 men in 2021. That’s about 1 in every 4 male deaths.
That’s why it’s crucial for men to adopt a healthy lifestyle that promotes good heart health, prevents sickness as well as possible death, according to a health expert.
“When it comes to achieving good heart health, we need to make good choices to prevent heart disease,” said Dr. Jennifer L. Nguyen, a cardiologist with Kaiser Permanente Southern California. “This includes making the right choices when it comes to diet and lifestyle that have a great impact on one’s health.”
Dr. Nguyen, who practices at Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles, offered the following advice to keep your heart healthy:
Eat Right for Your Heart
Eating more heart-healthy food like fruits, vegetables, increased healthy plant proteins and whole grains will help keep your heart and blood vessels in good shape.
Get Your Heart Pumping
It’s recommended that you engage in 150 minutes of exercise a week, or at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days. If you can’t do all 30 minutes at once, do 10 minutes at a time. Brisk walking, swimming or cycling are especially good for the heart, but choose any activity you enjoy. Start at your comfort level and build up gradually. It’s always wise to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
Maintain Healthy Weight
If you’re able to lower your weight by just 10%, that can make a significant difference in reducing your risk of heart disease. If you need to lose weight, learn ways to change your eating habits and be more physically active.
De-stress Your Life
Stress, anger, anxiety and depression can lead to high blood pressure, which in turn may increase your risk of heart attack, stroke and other illnesses.
If You Smoke, Now’s the Time to Quit
Smoking is a leading cause of heart disease and death. It’s never too late to quit. Kaiser Permanente offers tips on how you can kick the nicotine habit.
If You Drink Alcohol, Drink in Moderation
Drinking too much alcohol can raise your total cholesterol levels and your blood pressure. Limit alcohol to no more than one drink a day for women, or two drinks a day for men. A drink equals:
— Twelve ounces of beer
— Five ounces of wine
— One ounce of liquor
Kaiser Permanente offers additional advice on how to maintain a healthy heart at https://healthy.kaiserpermanente.org/southern-california/health-wellness/heart-health.