Although heart disease is a major concern for women today, men are also at risk for it. You might think that if you eat healthy foods and exercise on a regular basis, heart disease won't affect you. While both efforts can help reduce your risks for the disease, it's how you do them that matters the most. Even seemingly healthy foods can harm your health if you don't watch how you prepare them. In addition, weight training alone may not provide you the full benefits of strengthening your heart. Here's how heart disease affects men and what you can do to protect your cardiovascular system with the right diet and exercise.
What's Heart Disease?
Heart disease describes a number of problems that affect the heart and its blood vessels and tissues, including cerebrovascular, hypertensive and ischemic disease. The biggest problem with many of these diseases is that they are silent killers. You may not know that you have a heart problem until you see a primary care physician for routine exams or experience dangerous or life-threatening symptoms.
The symptoms you experience from heart disease may depend on where it is in your cardiovascular system. For instance, people with ischemic heart disease might experience chest pains at some point in their lives or when the condition worsens. This disease affects the heart's coronary arteries, which supply the heart with oxygen-rich blood. If plaque, or hardened cholesterol and fats, block the arteries, your heart doesn't receive as much blood as it needs to stay healthy. Blocked arteries can also prevent the heart from pumping blood to the rest of your body's organs, cells and tissues.
Cerebrovascular heart diseases can reduce or block blood flow to your brain and its tissues. These types of diseases develop when the arteries in the brain or neck narrow, weaken or clog up with plaque. You can experience a brain attack, or stroke, if you have a cerebrovascular condition. Strokes can vary in severity and can cause weakness and paralysis in one side of the body. The extent of a stroke typically depends on where the damage occurs in the brain and how bad the damage is when it occurs. In most cases, a doctor can detect the location and severity of the stroke with a brain computed tomography scan.
In order to prevent the issues mentioned above, you may want to change how you eat and exercise.
What Can You Do to Protect Your Heart From Disease?
Eating foods high in cholesterol and fat increases your risk for heart disease. Cholesterol is a waxy substance found naturally in your body and in some foods, such as chicken skin and cooking oil. Having too much cholesterol in your blood allows it to stick to the walls of your arteries. The substance eventually hardens and blocks blood circulation through your arteries.
One of the things you might do to reduce your risk of high cholesterol is change how you eat meat and poultry. Fatty beef, chicken and pork contain saturated fats. These types of fats have very little benefits and can increase the cholesterol in your blood. Always trim the skin from your chicken and turkey before you cook the meat, as well as drain the excess juices from ground beef, steaks and pork chops when you bake or broil them. Place your meats on several paper towels after you cook them to help soak up the juices.
When it comes to exercise, be sure to do around 45 minutes of cardio several times a week. You might think that cardio won't benefit you as a male, but it can. Cardiovascular exercises, such as running, swimming and jumping jacks, can help lower your cholesterol and prevent heart disease. Also, try to mix up your routine each week to achieve the best health benefits. For example, you might weight train on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and run or swim on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
If you have concerns about your heart or want to learn how to protect it properly, consult with a primary care physician for help or click for more information..