You’ve obviously heard the reference to a man as a “heart attack waiting to happen.” Well, there’s some truth in that gallows humor: Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States and worldwide.
For the man who regularly consults with his doctor, however, heart disease and its potentially fatal consequences are usually avoidable.
“Approximately 80 percent of cardiovascular disease is preventable with appropriate risk assessment and taking action to reduce the risk,” says Dr. Waseem Chaudhry, a Hartford Healthcare Heart & Vascular Institute cardiologist who specializes in cardiovascular disease prevention.
It’s a fairly simple equation. If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol or a family history of cardiovascular disease, you could be at risk. Your obligation to good health and a long life starts with a basic exam and tests to evaluate your vulnerability.
- One in every four male deaths in the United State is attributable to heart disease.
- Coronary heart disease is more common in men (7.4 percent) than in women (5.3 percent).
- Men (3.8 percent) are more likely than women (2.3 percent) to have a heart attack.
- Men who have a heart attack experience it about seven years earlier than women who have a heart attack.
- Men with erectile dysfunction are more than twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke.
The List: Types Of Heart Disease
Here are some common types of heart disease that can be identified and treated by visiting a cardiologist:
Coronary Artery Disease: When plaque accumulates in the wall of coronary arteries that bring blood and oxygen to the heart, these small blood vessels begin to narrow. The plaque buildup, which includes cholesterol and other substances, can eventually block blood flow to the heart. Coronary artery disease, also known as coronary heart disease, is the leading cause of death in the United States.
Angina: Chest pain, tightness or other discomfort in an area of the heart that is not getting enough oxygen-filled blood. It’s not uncommon to hear people describe it as indigestion. The pain can extend to the arms, shoulders, neck, back or jaw, is actually a sign of coronary artery disease – the most common heart disease.
Aortic Aneurysm and Dissection: When diseased, the aorta can dilate (aneurysm) or split (dissection). A rupture is potentially fatal.
Arrhythmias: An irregular heartbeat that feels like a skipped beat, an extra beat or a mild fluttering. During this irregularity, the heart might not supply enough blood to the body.
Atherosclerosis: Hardening of the arteries caused by plaque buildup.
Atrial Fibrillation: An irregular beating of the upper chambers of the heart that can cause palpitations, light-headedness, dizziness, shortness of breath and chest pain.
Heart Failure: When your heart doesn’t pump enough blood and oxygen for other organs in your body. It’s often called congestive heart failure because fluid accumulation in the lungs, liver, arms, legs and gastrointestinal tract
Five Signs You Should See A Cardiologist
- You are a smoker, or former smoker.
- You have high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes.
- You are overweight or obese.
- You have gum disease (swollen gums are often a sign of heart disease).
- You have a family history of heart disease or stroke.
For more information about preventive cardiology at the Hartford Healthcare Heart & Vascular Institute, click here.
For more information, including a downloadable guide, about abnormal heart rhythms, click here.