heart disease

Tips To Prevent Heart Disease In Men

June is Men’s Health Month, and regardless of gender, health is a universal concern. In order to continue to do the things we love for as long as we want, it’s important to implement healthy habits and preventive measures for illness and diseases. The three leading causes of death in men are cardiovascular disease (heart attacks and stroke), cancer, and unintentional injuries. Fortunately, many of these health concerns are preventable or can be delayed. This week on Fox 17, Dr. Bitner shifts focus to men’s health, sharing risk factors and prevention options for heart disease in men. 

Fact #1

A few habits men can kick or adopt to live healthy, longer lives are:

  • Reducing cigarette use
  • Being more active
  • Treating obesity
  • Keeping alcohol to fewer than 14 servings per week

Fact #2

Cardiovascular disease is preventable. With early prevention screening and tests, many of these concerns can be detected and managed early. By using risk factors and tests, medical professionals can predict when a heart attack or stroke might occur, even without intervention. The risk factors are divided into two categories: non-modifiable and modifiable. 

Fact #3

Non-modifiable risk factors are:

  • Age
  • Family history
  • Sex

Fact #4

Modifiable risk factors include:

  • Blood pressure
  • Weight
  • Waist circumference
  • Building and maintaining muscle mass
  • Body fat percentage
  • Cholesterol levels
  • Blood sugar
  • Inflammation levels

Fact #5

Most men and women with heart disease do not have symptoms. Due to the silent nature of heart disease, it is essential for individuals to continue to get regular screenings. While symptoms may not be noticeable, tests are available to detect risks to create a plan for lifestyle changes and medication to help prevent heart disease. But it begins with you proactively scheduling doctor appointments and getting regular screenings. 

Fact #6

Coronary artery calcium score (CAC) is a test to measure current levels of calcium and overall risk for heart disease. It consists of a CT scan of the heart that looks for calcium build-up in the walls of the arteries around the heart. Build-ups cause arteries to harden, increasing the risk for heart disease. Luckily, this is preventable! Based on the calcium score detected from the build-up, medical professionals can evaluate a patient’s risk for heart disease and work with patients to create a prevention plan.

Patient story:

James, 53, felt content with the life he had created. He had his own business, a wife, and three kids. He used to be an active individual with a fast metabolism, but that had begun slowing down in his 50s. James has a family history of heart disease and his father’s heart attack made him worried about his own risk. Because he didn’t feel any symptoms, he continued to push off scheduling an appointment with his doctor. 

His wife had recently taken a CAC score test to predict her risk for heart disease. After hearing about the test, James scheduled one. His results showed his lipoprotein (a) levels were elevated, and his cardiologist advised James to begin implementing lifestyle changes to lessen his risk for heart disease. 

James began taking walks throughout the week and weightlifting twice weekly. He also began watching what he ate and scheduling annual visits with his doctor. James and his family felt relief after he got the CAC score test and realized he needed to make changes now. 

Takeaway Tip:

Don’t wait—schedule an appointment today. Advocate for your health and get the information you need to start planning for a healthier lifestyle. Your actions now will affect your future health. Remember, most chronic illnesses are preventable.

Watch the full segment here