Be Smart, Men: Talk to Your Doctor About Heart Disease

General

Sometimes it seems the official recommendation is to run to the doctor with every pain or symptom you experience. Some folks take this to the extreme, but some serious health conditions expose themselves through relatively minor symptoms. The early signs of heart disease in men can seem rather innocuous. Since the symptoms appear to be minor, many men wait to talk with their doctor until it is too late.

“Oh, It’s Nothing”

Have you ever had a dizzy spell? How about an unexplained pain in your arm or chest? While these occurrences could be meaningless, they could also signal a serious health condition brewing. Aches and pains usually accompany growing older and are quite natural. However, any unexplained pain, especially in your arm or chest, should be discussed with your doctor. Let her make the call about the cause of it. If you experience dizziness that comes and goes, talk to your doctor. It could be nothing, but it is also one of the classic early signs of heart disease in men. Women, you are not off the hook, many of these signals are early evidence of heart attack for females as well.

Do a Healthy Habit Inventory

While you are thinking about your health and how to have a better chance of prolonging your travels on this earth as long as possible, take a quick inventory of your habits. Do you smoke? Quit immediately. Every time you take a puff you are constricting your arteries and making your heart struggle to pump your blood. How about your drinking habits? If you want a healthy heart, it is recommended you only drink alcohol in moderation. About 30 minutes of vigorous exercise per day might help increase your odds of staying healthy.

Cholesterol: Good or Bad?

The debate rages on about the effect of diet on the health of your heart. The official recommendation is to eat a low-fat diet with grains, fruit and vegetables providing most of your caloric intake. However, some experts point out that about the same time this recommendation became the official stance of the medical community and government, obesity rates resulting in an explosion of severe health conditions ranging from diabetes to heart disease began to increase rapidly. Whoever you decide to believe, it would be wise to consider the research linking consumption of sugar with higher risk of heart disease since this theory is starting to gain more traction.

The medical community believes high cholesterol levels are one of the early signs of heart disease in men. A family history of heart disease is considered by some to be a clear warning sign. The recommendation is usually to start taking cholesterol-lowering drugs in the statin family. While there are studies that show lowering cholesterol levels can reduce the risks of developing heart disease in middle-aged men, the jury is still out on conclusive proof that this course’s benefits outweigh the harmful effects. Your body produces cholesterol naturally in the liver to perform a wide variety of functions. Some believe lowering cholesterol through medication can have some undesired results such as memory loss and a drop in sexual function. However, the strategy of lowering cholesterol to prevent heart disease enjoys the support of the government and the vast majority of health professionals.

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