Heart Health

9 Actions Men Can Take to Prevent Heart Disease | by Beverly Barnett | Sep, 2021

Prevention is the best cure

American men typically start putting on weight in their thirties and progress to high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels in their 30s. By the time they enter their 40s many American man have developed heart problems.

However, Black men tend to enter this pathway a decade earlier than other American men. Black men tend to start gaining weight in their 20s. They start having pre-hypertension (B/P 130/80), develop obesity (BMI >25) and high cholesterol levels in their 30s. Because Black men do not go to the doctor by the time, they are in their 40s they may be having signs of heart disease like stroke, uncontrolled blood pressure and coronary artery disease. Black men have an earlier mortality rate than other American men because they enter this pathway a decade earlier than other American men.

It is important that men know the risk factors that lead to heart disease. Some of these risk factors you cannot change such as your age, race, and family history.

Other risk factors you can change or modifiable. You can decide to prevent these risk factors from occurring. The three modifiable risk factors are:

Factors that increase you risk of developing heart disease are:

1. Becoming overweight or obese- overweight is defined as having a Body Mass Index of 26–3 while people with obesity have a BMI greater than 35. According to the Office of Minority Health, 70.6% of Black men as compared to 75.3 % of White men are overweight or obese. Black women had the highest rate of overweight or obesity, 80.6%.

2. Elevated Cholesterol levels

3. Cigarette smoking

What is the culprit underlying these the last three risk factor?

That culprit is engaging in unhealthy lifestyle practices. As we age, we must recognize that are bodies are changing and we cannot continue to eat and take risky behavior as we did in our youth.

What 10 things can men do to prevent heart disease?

1. Get a physical exam by a doctor at age 20 and yearly thereafter.

2. Enroll in your doctor’s online health portal so that you can monitor you test results.

3. Keep your blood pressure less than 130/80.

4. Exercise 30 minutes a day 5 days a week or 150 minutes a week.

5. Change your eating habits. Decrease the amounts of carbohydrates, starchy foods, and fats. Replace them with fruits and vegetables. Limit fast food.

6. If you smoke, STOP.

7. Drink water, not sodas or fountain drinks.

8. Keep your body lean and trim and a BMI less than 25.

9. Keep your total Cholesterol level less than 200 and LDL cholesterol less than 160

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