November is Men's Health Awareness Month, a time to bring attention to the health issues that affect men, including heart disease. The sad truth is that heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death for men not just in Nigeria, but worldwide. In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), heart disease was the leading cause of death for men in Nigeria, accounting for 16% of all deaths in 2019.
Heart disease in men
Heart disease is a broad term that refers to a variety of conditions that affect the heart. The most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease (CAD), which occurs when plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries, the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart. This plaque buildup can narrow or block the arteries, reducing blood flow to the heart muscle.
Men are more susceptible to heart disease than women for a number of reasons. These include:
- Genetics: Men are more likely to have certain genetic variants that increase their risk of heart disease.
- Hormones: Men have lower levels of estrogen and progesterone than women, hormones that may protect against heart disease.
- Lifestyle factors: Men are more likely to smoke, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, all of which are major risk factors for heart disease.
In addition, men tend to develop heart disease at a younger age than women.
There are several factors that increase the risk of heart disease in men. Some factors cannot be changed, such as age, family history, and genetics. However, there are several lifestyle-related factors that men can control to reduce their risk of heart disease:
- High blood pressure: Men with high blood pressure are more likely to develop heart disease than men with normal blood pressure.
- High cholesterol: High levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease in men.
- Smoking: Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease, as it can damage the blood vessels and increase the risk of blood clots.
- Obesity: Men who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop heart disease than men who are at a healthy weight.
- Poor diet: Men who consume a diet high in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol are more likely to develop heart disease.
Prevention and treatment of heart disease in men
Fortunately, there are steps men can take to reduce their risk of heart disease. Here are some tips for preventing heart disease:
- Maintain a healthy weight: Men can reduce their risk of heart disease by maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise.
- Quit smoking: Quitting smoking and avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke can reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Exercise regularly: Regular exercise can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of obesity, and improve overall heart health.
- Eat a healthy diet: Men can improve their heart health by consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein.
- Manage stress: Stress can contribute to the development of heart disease, so it's important for men to find healthy ways to manage stress.
- Regular health screenings: Getting a routine medical check can help you detect early signs of heart disease, and begin treatment easily at that stage.
If you have already been diagnosed with heart disease, treatment options may include medications, lifestyle changes, and other medical procedures. Your healthcare provider can help you determine the best course of treatment based on your individual needs.
In conclusion, heart disease is a serious health issue for men, but there are steps men can take to reduce their risk of developing this condition. By maintaining a healthy lifestyle and seeking medical care regularly and when necessary, men can improve their heart health and prevent heart disease. Remember, prevention is key when it comes to heart disease. So, take charge of your health today and start making healthy choices for a healthier tomorrow.
Beaconhealth Diagnostics is a leading provider of diagnostic testing services. We offer a comprehensive range of tests for heart disease; including hormonal tests, lab tests, x-ray tests and ultrasound scans. Our team of experts can help you understand your results and develop a treatment plan that is right for you.
Schedule an appointment online or visit a Beaconhealth Diagnostics centre near you today!