Healthspan September 21, 2017

Here’s your complete guide to male heart disease to arm you with the right tools to recognise the warning signs and what to do about them.

The heart is one of the most important muscles in the body and should be treated with care. As we get older our risk of developing heart disease increases a concern as It’s now the UK’s number one killer. But did you know that heart attack symptoms in men tend to be slightly different to symptoms in women?

Why are men at risk of heart disease?

According to the British Heart Foundation men tend to develop more common types of heart disease than women. But many of the risk factors associated with heart disease come are dependent on your lifestyle. Making a few simple changes could improve your heart health and decrease your risk factors.

How to control your risk factors:

  • Stop smoking
  • If you have diabetes, keep control of your blood glucose levels
  • Limit your alcohol intake
  • Keep control of your blood pressure
  • Maintain your cholesterol within the recommended limits
  • Stay active and exercise regularly
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Keep calm and take time to destress

How to manage your blood pressure?

High blood pressure (BP) - also known as hypertension puts massive strain on your heart because it is associated with narrowing of the arteries. If not controlled, this can lead to coronary artery disease (CVD) and heart failure. But, some simple changes: quitting smoking, losing weight, exercising more, reducing limiting alcohol intake, reducing the amount of salt in your diet, cutting back on caffeine, getting your five-a-day and reducing your stress levels can all help with lowering your blood pressure.

Why is fat no longer the enemy?

Traditionally we’ve been told by our doctors to avoid high cholesterol diets at all costs. But that now experts are suggesting we learn to embrace fat as part of a balanced diet. Dairy products and eggs have been identified as good foods to have in your diet. So, if you want to eat the odd wedge of cheese every now and again, go for it!

What is ‘good’ cholesterol?

Your body actually needs cholesterol to function. You’ve probably heard the term ‘bad (LDL) cholesterol’, but what about good cholesterol? Good (HDL) cholesterol comes from foods including: oily fish – such as mackerel and salmon, seeds, nuts and avocadoes.

You may also benefit from supplements such as CoQ10, vitamin K2, omega 3 fish oils, plant sterols and, garlic, which can be beneficial in reducing LDL cholesterol levels.

Why do we need to stay active and keep moving?

Making time for more exercise, even if it’s moderate - can really help when it comes to a healthier heart. According to UK Government guidelines you should try to fit in 30 minutes on at least five days a week. Examples of moderate exercise can include: cycling, brisk walking and swimming.

How does stress affect your heart?

The benefits of being active:

  • Reduces risk of a range of diseases, e.g. coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes
  • Helps maintain a healthy weight
  • Helps maintain ability to perform everyday tasks with ease
  • Improves self-esteem
  • Reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety

As our lives become busier and more demanding, chronic stress is more prevalent and can have a negative effect on our hearts. It can be a contributor to high blood pressure. Find healthy ways to cope with your stress, such as meditation and mindful techniques. Identify your stress triggers and try to avoid them when possible. Also, try to make more time for yourself to do activities you enjoy.

What are the male symptoms of a heart attack?

Watch out for the following symptoms as identified by the British Heart Foundation:

  • Chest pain: tightness, heaviness, pain or a burning feeling in your chest
  • Pain in arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach: for some people, the pain or tightness is severe, while other people just feel uncomfortable
  • Sweating
  • Feeling light-headed
  • Become short of breath
  • Feeling nauseous or vomiting

Though men and women can experience different symptoms – the most crucial symptom is tightness across the chest. If you see any of the below symptoms don’t delay, call 999.

Nothing beats a healthy, balanced diet to provide all the nutrients we need. But when this isn’t possible supplements can help. This article isn’t intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying supplements or herbal medicines.

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