4 Reasons Men Are at High Risk for Heart Disease
Heart disease is one of the many health issues men often worry about as they age, and as the numbers show, there’s a valid reason why.
According to 2017 data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), heart disease (ischaemic heart disease in particular) was the leading cause of death, responsible for 50,503 deaths in men. Findings have also revealed that, on average, men develop heart disease at least a decade earlier than most women.
The good news is you have the power to reduce your risk of getting heart disease! By knowing what aspects of your lifestyle affect your health, you can significantly improve your heart’s health. Check out this quick read to learn more about the common risk factors for heart disease among men.
- High Levels of Bad Cholesterol
Although the terms “heart disease” and “cholesterol” often go hand-in-hand, we actually need cholesterol because it is the major precursor of our reproductive hormones like testosterone, steroid hormones like Vitamin D, and also forms part of our cell membranes. However, having too much low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease. Small and dense LDL cholesterol particles can get into the walls of your blood vessels causing atherosclerosis (the buildup of fats, cholesterol and other substances in and on your artery walls), which can gradually block your arteries and restrict blood flow. When the LDL particles become oxidized, because of increased free radicals in your system, it results in inflammation, which causes further harm to your blood vessels.
Your body’s LDL cholesterol levels are influenced by your diet, such as eating too much processed and/or high-carbohydrate food, food that is high in saturated fat, and/or food high in trans fat. This type of diet also causes overweight or obesity, which also negatively affects your body’s LDL levels.
Taking a supplement like LifeFood’s Sytrinol will help manage your cholesterol levels in several ways: it helps reduce the levels of LDL, raise the levels of HDL (the good cholesterol), and provide antioxidants to help prevent LDL oxidation.
- Mental Health Issues Like Depression
Recent findings have linked depression and emotional distress to heart disease, particularly coronary artery disease or blocked heart vessels.
People who are stressed, anxious, or depressed often have higher than normal levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, which increases heart rate and blood pressure levels. Overtime the constant elevation of cortisol, blood pressure and heart rate, negatively impacts the heart and blood vessels.
People who are stressed, anxious, and/or depressed are also likely to indulge in smoking, unhealthy diets, and high alcohol consumption to help manage their emotional distress. These unhealthy lifestyle habits, in turn, further increase the risk for heart disease.
Moreover, if you’ve already experienced heart failure, stroke, or had a heart attack, you’re most likely to be affected with depression and anxiety too. If this is the case, it would be a good idea to seek emotional support, and even professional help, to help you break out of the vicious cycle of your emotional state affecting your heart health and vice versa.
Having diabetes increases the risk for heart disease. Diabetics are more prone to developing heart disease and suffering from strokes than non-diabetics, and often start experiencing these conditions at a younger age.
The high blood glucose levels in diabetes causes damage to the blood vessels, and to the nerves responsible for controlling the heart and the blood vessels.
- Low Testosterone Levels
Although more research is needed to fully confirm this association, it is said that low testosterone (T) levels in men can increase the risk for coronary artery disease, metabolic syndrome, and/or type 2 diabetes. As men age, their T levels go down, and this may lead to higher amounts of body fat that may be a precursor for heart disease. Conversely, being overweight or obese can cause low testosterone regardless of age.
If you’re worried about your heart disease risk, feel free to talk to your doctor about it. They can help you determine your current health status, and suggest ways to improve your lifestyle and well-being, and minimize your chances of developing other health issues.