UPMC Cardiologist Encourages Men to Take Their Heart Health Seriously
Men often will not take the time for self-care, physical activity, and mental health, which is concerning because they may end up paying for it in the long run. Participating in physical hobbies, journaling, or getting more sleep are a good start for self-care, but most importantly you need to schedule your annual checkup. While you may not notice or feel as though anything is wrong, a check-up helps rule out any unnoticeable health problems, like high blood pressure, which is treatable, but left unchecked, can lead to heart disease, which is responsible for about one in every four male deaths.
Reducing Risk for Heart Disease
Heart disease takes on many forms:
– Arrythmia or abnormal heart rhythm
– Cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease)
– Coronary artery disease
– Congenital heart disease
– Heart failure
You may not know there’s an issue until complications start so it’s important to participate in regular screening with your physician. You may think you’ll know something is seriously wrong if you experience obvious symptoms such as chest pain or difficulty breathing, but many men may be living with other subtle symptoms including anxiety, backache, fatigue, indigestion, lightheadedness, nausea, shortness of breath, and foot or ankle swelling that could be a sign of something more serious.
There are many lifestyle choices that you can adopt to help prevent cardiovascular issues.
Lack of physical activity is the most common way your health affects your heart and vascular system. The goal is to be active in a moderate intensity level for at least 30 minutes a day. You could simply go on a walk or bike ride. Not only will this help improve your health, but physical activity is a great way to practice self-care and improve your happiness.
Many diseases and conditions of the heart are also attributed to unhealthy eating habits. Diabetes, cholesterol levels, and a variety of other conditions can overwhelm your heart if you’re not careful. Some insurances may cover a standard assessment session with a registered dietician to go over healthier eating options. Both exercising and eating a healthy diet will help you manage your weight, ultimately fighting heart disease.
Finally, it is highly advised to quit smoking. Men are more likely to be current cigarette smokers than women. About 15.3% of adult men are smokers compared to 12.7% of adult women as of 2019. Smoking can cause an increase in blood pressure and heart rate, a reduction in blood flow, and promote clotting and fatty substance buildup. Stopping the use of tobacco will reduce your risk for cardiovascular diseases.
Symptoms of Heart Attack
Heart attacks are one of the most common heart events in men and can be deadly. Indications of heart attacks range from showing no signs, to sudden, severe symptoms; they vary from person to person. If you experience one or more of the following symptoms, you might be experiencing a heart attack:
– Tightness, pressure, pain, aching or a feeling of fullness in your chest
– Chest pain that radiates to your back, neck, jaw, shoulders, or arms
– Difficulty breathing
– Cold sweats
– General unwell feelings
If you think that you or a loved one is experiencing a heart attack, call 911.June is Men’s Health Month. Celebrate today by scheduling an appointment to check your blood pressure and risk for heart disease. This simple check-up can help prevent future issues and may end up saving your life.
Michael Wilt is a physician assistant with UPMC Cardiology and sees patients at 1001 E. 2nd St., Coudersport, and 83 S. Marvin St., Smethport. To schedule an appointment with Michael Wilt, PA-C, call 814-260-5576. For more information, visit UPMC.com/HeartNCPA.
Writing: Michael Wilt, PA-C, Cardiology, UPMC
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