Men’s Health: A Matter of the Heart
Personal health allows us to do what we want to do, enjoy our lives with family and friends, and have a great quality of life. It is something to keep if we have it, and strive for if we don’t. To stay healthy, we need to be aware of our risk for disease and prevent the onset of major health issues as much as possible. For men, this means knowing your risk for heart disease.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the U.S. and is responsible for 1 in 4 male deaths. This is true across most races and ethnicities. The exception is for Asian American and Pacific Islander men, for whom cancer is the leading cause of death.
So, what is heart disease? Actually, heart disease is a broad term for a number of conditions that affect the structure and function of the heart. These include heart valve disease, arrhythmias (rhythm disorders), heart failure, and coronary heart disease (CHD). The most common of these is CHD which affects the blood flow to the heart muscle.
What are the symptoms of heart disease? Heart disease is often called “silent” because it may not be diagnosed until a man experiences symptoms of a heart attack, heart failure, or an arrhythmia. In fact, half of men who die suddenly of CHD have no symptoms. Symptoms of a heart attack include chest pain or discomfort, upper back or neck pain, heartburn, nausea, dizziness, and shortness of breath. Arrhythmias may cause a fluttering feeling in the chest, and heart failure is often accompanied by shortness of breath, fatigue, and swelling of the feet, ankles, legs, and neck veins. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek medical attention.
Because heart disease can ‘sneak up on you’, men should know their risk and take steps to reduce it. The most common modifiable risk factor is high blood pressure, yet over 47% of men age 18 years and older have high blood pressure! Other conditions that increase the risk for heart disease are high blood cholesterol and diabetes.
Work with your doctor to find out if you have any of these conditions and what you need to do to control them. There are other things within your control that also increase heart disease risk. These have to do with lifestyle choices such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol, eating less than healthy foods, and not being physically active.
The choice really is in your hands. So, take the matter of your health to heart.
Contributed by: Carlin Rafie, PhD, MS, RD, Virginia Cooperative Extension
7 Habits to Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease
- Know your blood pressure.
- Talk to your health provider about your risk for diabetes.
- Quit smoking.
- Have your cholesterol checked, and take steps to keep it in a healthy range.
- Maintain an appropriate weight for your height and age through a healthy diet pattern and regular physical activity.
- If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation by limiting intake on days when alcohol is consumed. For men, limit alcohol to 2 drinks or less in a day. For women, 1 drink or less in a day.
- Lower your stress level by finding healthy ways of dealing with stress.
Cajun Grilled Fish Tacos
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that we eat more seafood. This is a delicious way to follow those guidelines.
4 four-ounce white fish fillets thawed
2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
Non-stick cooking spray
8 corn tortillas
2 cups shredded coleslaw mix
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Spicy Mayonnaise Ingredients:
½ cup fat-free mayonnaise
1 chipotle pepper in Adobo sauce (or a small can of mild green chile peppers)
½ tablespoon lime juice
Preheat an indoor grill or non-stick skillet to medium high heat.
Pat tilapia fillets dry with a paper towel and sprinkle with the Cajun seasoning.
Spray the grill or skillet with non-stick cooking spray and cook fish for 4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily with a fork and has reached 145 ⁰F.
Place the mayonnaise, chipotle pepper in Adobo sauce, and a dash of lime juice in food processor or blender and process until smooth.
To assemble tacos, spread the spicy mayonnaise on a corn tortilla and top with coleslaw mix, 1/2 of a fish fillet, chopped cilantro, a dash of lime juice, and any other toppings of your choice. Enjoy!
Resistance Band Squats
Strengthens the quadriceps, glutes, hamstring, calves and core muscles
Stand with your arms by your side and bands gripped tightly in hands, feet shoulder-width apart. Step securely on band with both feed.
Keeping left foot planted, step with your right foot out to the side and squat down, keeping your knees behind your toes and over ankles.
Hold for two counts and come back up to standing.
Repeat exercise with bands securely in hand and under feet. Tips: Keep chest lifted and abdominal muscles tight when squatting.
3. A common symptom of a heart attack along with shortness of breath & arm pain
7. Even if you have a family of heart disease, you can reduce your risks
8. Not only senior citizens, but even people can have heart disease
9. Check this blood level at least once a year to manage your risk of heart disease
10. Moderate intensity is beneficial to heart health
1. Heart ______ can cause shortness of breath and swelling of the feet and ankles
2. High ____ is known as a “silent killer”
4. Peripheral ______ Disease causes leg pain as a result of blocked blood vessels
5. Abnormal or irregular heart beat
6. a condition with high blood sugar that increases risk of heart disease
Key: 1. failure 2. blood pressure 3. chest pain 4. artery 5. arrhythmia 6. diabetes 7. history
8. young 9. cholesterol 10. exercise
CDC About Heart Disease
American Heart Association
Resistance Band Exercise Resource
Editors: April Payne, MS; Carlin Rafie, PhD, RD; and Vanessa Santiago, MBA
Peer reviewers: Jane Henderson, MEd; Susan Prillaman, MS; Aisha Salazar, MS, and Pegi Wright, MEd Subscribe at: mailto:email@example.com
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June 1, 2022