What is heart disease?
Heart disease is one of the foremost health risks facing men today. Rendering to the American Heart Association (AHA), more than one in three adult men has heart disease. Heart disease is an umbrella term that includes:
- Heart failure
- Coronary artery disease
- Other heart-related infections, irregularities, and birth defects
Although it may seem that something so serious should have cautionary signs, it’s possible to develop heart disease without knowing it as you go about your daily life. Know the early signs of heart disease – as well as risk factors – so you can get treatment early and prevent more thoughtful health problems.
Signs and Symptoms of heart disease in men
In some cases, a heart attack or other serious heart-related event can be one of the first signs of heart disease a man notices. However, there are often some early signs and symptoms to look for that can help prevent a heart attack, stroke, or other complications of heart disease.
Men generally experience a mixture of the following symptoms when they have a heart attack:
- Chest pain
- Pain in the arm, neck, jaw, or back
- Tightness or a feeling of pressure or fullness in the chest
- Unexplained excessive sweating
- Difficulty breathing
This is the most shared symptom of a heart attack in both men and women. Most of the time, it starts out slowly with mild pain or discomfort. Sudden onset of severe symptoms is sometimes called a “Hollywood heart attack,” because of the typical way heart attacks are described in movies and on television. A heart attack can happen this way, but it is not as common.
Chest discomfort or pressure
The pain can be plain, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be a feeling of “fullness”, tightness or pressure. It can even be mistaken for heartburn. Discomfort often occurs in the left or center of your chest. The sensation may last more than several minutes or it may come and go.
Pain in other parts of your body
Pain or discomfort sometimes appears in other areas because they are not getting enough blood. It is usually an area of the body that is above the waist, including the upper stomach, shoulders, one arm (probably the left) or both, the back, neck or jaw, and even the teeth.
Shortness of breath, called dyspnea, can occur with or without chest pain and may even be your only symptom. It can happen when you are active or not and is probably due to congestion (fluid build-up) in the lungs. You can also find yourself coughing or panting.
Feeling tired for no reason is another common sign. You may also feel anxious. Nausea and vomiting are less mutual in men than in women. Some people say they feel lightheaded or dizzy. Another possible sign is breaking out in a cold sweat.
Constriction in the chest: This is one of the most common signs of heart problems. If you’ve experienced chest pain, tightness, or pressure, see your doctor right away. The feeling of discomfort comes and goes and can last from a few minutes to a few hours.
Physical exhaustion: Unexplained fatigue and severe exhaustion are important signs of heart disease. Many men cannot even climb stairs or walk short distances before an impending heart attack. See if you can’t do the usual tasks, especially if you were able to do them without problems before. Some heart problems may be brewing and should not be ignored.
Erectile dysfunction: One of the main reasons for erectile dysfunction is insufficient amounts of blood reaching the penis. Plaque buildup reduces blood flow and damages blood vessels. This is true for the heart and the other extremities. If someone is dealing with persistent erectile dysfunction, they should have an exam for heart problems.
Snoring: Sleep apnea occurs when there are interruptions in breathing while one is sleeping. Some symptoms of this are gasping in the middle of sleep, feeling exhausted despite the usual bedtime, and snoring. Pauses in breathing can lead to increased blood pressure, stress on the heart, and an increased risk of heart disease.
Perspiration: Sweating without any strenuous activity? This could indicate a heart attack. Call an ambulance, as it would be dangerous to drive to the hospital.
Stomach problems: Nausea, heartburn, indigestion, or stomach pain can indicate heart problems. Some people even vomit. These symptoms can also be due to a stomach virus, but if the symptoms increase with physical exertion and decrease with rest, then they are due to a heart problem.
Pain in the arm or jaw: One of the most telling signs of heart disease is pain that radiates from the chest to the arm, specifically the left arm and jaw.
Daze: Do you suddenly feel dizzy and have chest pain or shortness of breath? Run to the hospital. Lightheadedness occurs due to a sudden drop in blood pressure.
Risk factors of heart disease
Many men are at high risk of emerging heart disease. The AHA stated in 2013 that only a quarter of men met federal guidelines for physical activity 2011. They also estimated that 72.9 percent of U.S. men age 20 and older are overheavy or obese. And around 20 percent of men smoke, which can cause the blood vessels to narrow. Tightened blood vessels are a precursor to certain types of heart disease.
Other risk factors include:
- A diet high in saturated fat
- Alcohol abuse or excessive drinking
- High cholesterol
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Trusted Source, nearly half of all Americans – both men and women – have three or more risk factors for heart disease.
Seek medical courtesy if you have any of these symptoms. If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or a family history of heart problems, you are at risk.
Complications of heart disease
Complications of heart disease include:
Heart failure: One of the most common complications of heart disease, heart failure occurs when your heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the needs of your body. Heart failure can be the result of many forms of heart disease, including heart defects, cardiovascular disease, valvular heart disease, heart infections, or cardiomyopathy.
Myocardial infarction: A blood clot that blocks blood flow through a blood vessel that feeds the heart causes a heart attack, possibly damaging or destroying a part of the heart muscle. Atherosclerosis can cause a heart attack.
Race: Risk factors that lead to cardiovascular disease can also lead to ischemic stroke, which occurs when the arteries to the brain become narrowed or blocked, so that very little blood reaches the brain. A stroke is a medical emergency – brain tissue begins to die within minutes of having a stroke.
Aneurysm: A serious complication that can happen anywhere in your body, an aneurysm is a bulge in the wall of your artery. If an aneurysm bursts, you may face life-threatening interior bleeding.
Peripheral artery disease: Atherosclerosis can also lead to peripheral arterial disease. When you develop peripheral artery disease, your extremities, usually your legs, don’t get enough blood flow. This causes symptoms, especially pain in the legs when walking (claudication).
Sudden cardiac arrest is the sudden and unexpected loss of heart function, breathing, and consciousness, often caused by an arrhythmia. Sudden cardiac arrest is a medical emergency. If not treated directly, it is fatal, resulting in sudden cardiac death.
Prevention of heart disease
Certain types of heart disease, such as heart defects, cannot be prevented. However, you can help prevent many other types of heart disease by making the same lifestyle changes that can improve your heart disease, such as:
- Give up smoking
- Control other health circumstances, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes
- Exercise at least 30 minutes a day utmost days of the week
- Eat a diet low in salt and soaked fat
- keep a healthy weight
- Reduce and manage stress
- Practice good hygiene