This Sunday – Father’s Day – many will celebrate a special man in their life. One of the best ways to do so is by encouraging him to follow healthy habits. “A man’s risk for heart disease begins to rise greatly starting at 45 years of age,” said Debabrata Mukherjee, M.D., professor and chair for the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso Department of Internal Medicine. “Half of the men who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have no previous symptoms.”
To prevent this from happening, share heart-healthy guidelines with your special man.
- Eat a healthy diet. Fresh fruits and vegetables are especially abundant during the summer. Be sure to eat plenty of them. Adults should have at least five servings each day.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for heart disease.
- Exercise regularly. The summer is a good time to get active with family and friends. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. The surgeon general recommends that adults should engage in moderate exercise for two hours and 30 minutes every week. Walk, hike, bike, or head to the local pool for a swim.
- Monitor your blood pressure. High blood pressure often has no symptoms, so make sure to check it on a regular basis. You can check your blood pressure at home, at a local pharmacy, or at a doctor’s office. Find more information at the Center for Disease Control’s High Blood Pressure Website.
- Don’t smoke. Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quit as soon as possible. Your doctor can suggest ways to help you quit.
- Limit alcohol use. Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can increase your blood pressure. Men should have no more than two drinks per day (and one per day for women).
- Have your cholesterol checked. Your health care provider should test your cholesterol levels at least once every five years.
- Manage your diabetes. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar levels closely and talk with your health care team about treatment options.
- Take your medicine. If you’re taking medication to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Always ask questions if you don’t understand something. Your pharmacist can help if you have questions about taking your medication or about side effects.
Adapted from http://www.cdc.gov/features/fathersdayheartcheckup/