Maintaining heart health has a big impact on overall health. While some men may be more at risk for heart disease than others due to age, lifestyle, family history, or other factors, adult men of all ages need to be aware of their cardiovascular health as well as the choices they make. they can do to improve their quality. life and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Screenings are important when it comes to heart health.
An annual health screening is recommended for men aged 18 and over. Your PCP will measure your blood pressure and body mass index (BMI), two indicators of your overall heart health and disease risk. If your blood pressure is out of range or your BMI is too high, your doctor may recommend more frequent check-ups and strategies to help you achieve healthier results.
Your BMI is calculated based on your height and weight. Because your height doesn’t change much during adulthood, maintaining a healthy weight is important in reaching your BMI.
Blood pressure readings consist of two digits. The first is systolic blood pressure, which measures how much pressure is placed on your blood vessels when your heart is beating. The second number is diastolic blood pressure, which reflects the pressure on the walls of the arteries as the heart rests between beats. Both numbers are important, but there is usually more emphasis on systolic blood pressure. This is becoming a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease in men over 50 years of age. Systolic blood pressure usually increases with age as the arteries become stiffer.
Regardless of your current health condition, your doctor should also talk to you about your lifestyle habits, including smoking, physical activity, and diet. Smoking is known to cause serious adverse health effects, including an increased risk of heart disease, and should be avoided. Maintaining an active lifestyle and choosing a healthy diet (rich in fruits and vegetables and low in sugar and animal products) are also key components of good health at any age.
Starting at age 35, your health care provider will start monitoring your cholesterol levels. It can be checked earlier if you have other health problems. If everything is normal, rechecking will not be needed for another five years. If it is higher and you have other risk factors for heart disease, your doctor will likely recommend that you get tested more often and should help you develop a plan to improve your results.
Cholesterol is an important substance that your body needs. There are two types of cholesterol: HDL cholesterol is good, and LDL cholesterol is bad. Maintaining a healthy ratio is important, as too much LDL or too little HDL increases your risk of developing deposits in your heart and brain arteries, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Because your liver makes all the good cholesterol your body needs, it’s important to lead a lifestyle that promotes a healthy ratio of HDL to LDL cholesterol. This may mean that you need to be strategic about the foods you eat, as animal products contain LDL cholesterol, and fresh fruits and vegetables can lower LDL levels. Exercise, smoking cessation, and limiting alcohol consumption can also increase HDL levels and lower LDL levels.
Later in life, between the ages of 40 and 64, you should continue to monitor your cholesterol levels every few years, depending on your health. Your doctor may also recommend that you take a closer look at your current risk level for cardiovascular disease.
Between the ages of 65 and 75, men who have ever smoked should have a one-time diagnosis of an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA screening). An aneurysm refers to an abnormal expansion or swelling of a vessel due to weakening of the walls of an artery, and a ruptured aneurysm is a medical emergency. This screening, which can be as simple as an ultrasound, can help you and your doctor determine if you have an aneurysm that is at risk of rupture and whether you should consider additional treatment options.
Keeping track of your annual visits and medical checkups can help with early detection and prevention of diseases, helping you lead a healthy lifestyle.
To make an appointment with Dr. Jonathan Bonilla at Ochsner Health Center – River Parishes, 502 Rue de Santé in LaPlace, call 985-652-3500 or sign up at Ochsner.org.