Men’s Health: Cardiovascular Disease and Superman

Cardiovascular Disease [CVD] and mortality among men in the US is not news. In 2016 CVD remains the most common cause of death for men in the U.S., it’s a fact. Of course, that fact can be changed by changing lifestyle choices. A healthy diet and lifestyle contribute to good cardiovascular health. Other conditions affected by diet and lifestyle as you age include diabetes and high blood pressure. Even moderate changes in your diet and lifestyle choices will reduce your risk of developing these diseases leading to CVD.

Eating healthy and getting exercise is common sense and helps reduce the chances of developing CVD. Most of the risk factors to developing CVD are within your control. The risk factors you have no control over are your age, your family history of CVD and your race. However, all the rest of the risk factors leading to CVD are lifestyle choices that you control. Do you have so much fun living it up that you are putting your heart and health at risk? Or do you believe that you can beat the odds as in leaping a building in a single bound? Are you Superman or a mere mortal?

Check out the statements below. If any of them are true about you, make an appointment to see your healthcare provider today. Just one “Yes” answer means you are at risk. Two “Yes” answers quadruple your risk. Three “Yes” answers increases your risk by 10 times:
• I’m 45 or older. (Your risk of developing cardiovascular disease doubles each decade.)
• An immediate family member (father, mother, brother, sister) was diagnosed with high blood pressure or some other kind of heart condition before age 55.
• I’m African American.
• I get little or no exercise.
• I’m overweight or obese.
• I eat a lot of salty foods and/or I add salt to what I’m eating.
• My cholesterol is high. .
• I smoke. (If you do, you are two to four times more likely to develop heart disease than a nonsmoker.)
• I have high blood pressure.
• I use recreational drugs, such as cocaine.
• I’m under a lot of stress (at work and/or at home).
• I drink more than two alcoholic drinks every day.
• I drink a lot of coffee (not decaf) or other caffeinated beverages.
• I have diabetes. (More than 80% of people with diabetes die of some kind of CVD.)
• I’m taking prescription medications that affect blood pressure.

This list of risk factors to CVD isn’t news, nor has this list changed over the years. It’s a pretty safe bet that you have heard it all before. Yet, CVD remains the number one cause of mortality among men. Perhaps men in the US have a ‘Superman Complex’ and believe they can beat the odds. In the end, it’s the choices you make; make healthy ones.

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