COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo (KRDO) -- The American Heart Association predicts that heart disease is likely to remain the world's leading cause of death. While heart disease is a serious threat to both men and women, a man's risk is greatly increased as early as age 45. Additionally, five percent of men who die suddenly of heart disease have no previous symptoms.
The American Heart Association says that in 95 percent of heart disease deaths, the individual had at least one of these major factors:
- High Blood Pressure
- High Blood Cholesterol
- Physical inactivity
"Factors for men that can be treated if they are caught and found like sleep apnea, hypertension, diabetes all of these are very important and high cholesterol to get found and treated," says Dr. Christopher Cole, a Centura Health cardiologist. "Particularly in men, they have about a threefold increase in the risk of heart disease compared to women and an onset of heart disease about 10 years earlier."
Dr. Cole says people who smoke are up to six times more likely than a nonsmoker to suffer a heart attack. He told KRDO that smoking is the number one cause of preventable death and disease in the U.S.
"Modifiable risk factors for men if you are smoking quit smoking," says Dr. Cole. "It is terrible for your lungs and also terrible for your heart."
The American Heart Association says you can reduce your risk of heart disease by up to 82 percent by adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle.
"If you are not exercising talk to your doctor about starting an exercise program," says Dr. Cole. "The American Heart Association would recommend about 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 70 minutes of intense vigorous exercise over about a week."
Dr. Cole also urges men to be more aware of their diet too, especially as they get older. He says lowering fats, cholesterol, and sugar intake can make a big difference.
"Well your heart is good for you so you should be good to your heart," says Dr. Cole. "It works hard and beats 100,000 times a day, pumps enough blood to fill up an entire Olympic-sized swimming pool in less than a year so it is obviously a really vital part of our health."
If you ever have serious tightness in your chest call 911 immediately. If you are experiencing more subtle warning signs like swelling in your feet and legs, dizziness, and shortness of breath, you should make an appointment with your physician.