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HEALTH: Heart disease in men can be fought head-on

July 16, 2012

One big problem for men is a lot of them don’t manage their blood pressure as well as women do, he says. “It’s better than it was 10 years ago, but women still do better.”

High blood pressure is the most significant risk factor for heart disease, Tomaselli says. It means the blood running through your arteries flows with too much force and puts pressure on your arteries, stretching them past their healthy limit and causing microscopic tears, the heart association says.

Unfortunately, the scar tissue that forms to repair those tears traps plaque and white blood cells, which can lead to blockages, blood clots and hardened, weakened arteries, the heart association says.

One in three adults have high blood pressure, but many people don’t even know they have it, the heart group says. The risk can be reduced by following a healthful diet, including cutting back on salt; exercising; keeping a healthy weight; managing stress; limiting alcohol; and avoiding smoking, Tomaselli says. But some people who do those things may still need medication, he says.

If one prescription medication for hypertension doesn’t work, you usually can find another that is going to cause you few or no side effects, Luepker says.

Maintain your plumbing

Heart disease is largely preventable, says Gina Lundberg, a cardiologist in Atlanta.

She tells her patients that there are multiple things that can go wrong with your heart, just like the things that go wrong with your house. Your heart, like your house, has plumbing, electricity, doors and walls.

The plumbing in your heart is the coronary arteries that can get blocked up, Lundberg says. The heart has an electrical system that can result in irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia. The doors of the heart are the heart valves and the valves can leak or not open properly and need to be replaced. The walls of the heart can be weak or enlarged which can lead to congestive heart failure, she says.

Adds Tomaselli: “If you have known risk factors for heart disease — diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, you need to get them under control. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

Article source: http://www.delmarvanow.com/article/20120709/NEWS01/120709015/HEALTH-Heart-disease-men-can-fought-head-on?odyssey=nav%7Chead


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