Why are men dying more from heart attacks?
By now you’ve heard about the study which showed that men were much more likely to be diagnosed with heart disease when they were older, when they smoked, and when they drank alcohol.
But how many men do you know who have died of heart disease in their mid-30s?
And how much do you really know about heart disease?
If you don’t know the answers, you can still be at risk.
Here are five ways to protect yourself from heart disease: Drink more red wine.
Red wine is one of the healthiest drinks in the world.
But according to the International Journal of Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism, it is also one of most harmful.
“There is a strong association between wine consumption and risk of heart failure, stroke and cardiovascular disease,” says study researcher Professor Roberta P. Smith, of the University of Newcastle.
“It’s associated with heart attacks, strokes, heart failure and cardiovascular death, as well as other chronic health problems.”
That’s why red wine is often labelled as a “safe” drink, says Smith, and it’s also why it’s popular among some young people.
The alcohol content of red wine varies depending on the region and season.
So if you’re drinking it in August and you’re going to have a coronary artery bypass, you may need to adjust your consumption.
You might be able to drink a glass of wine a week instead.
Eat a higher-calorie diet.
Eating a higher calorie diet can lower your risk of developing heart disease.
The good news is that this diet has been proven to lower your blood pressure, lower your cholesterol levels, and raise your blood sugar levels.
However, the bad news is you’ll likely have a slightly higher risk of dying from heart failure.
You can eat a lower-cal diet if you know you have heart disease, says Adam Nisbet, of University College London, who co-authored a report on the benefits of eating a lower calorie diet.
That’s because a diet low in carbohydrates has a much greater effect on your body’s response to the drugs that are used to control blood pressure.
This may explain why people who have heart failure are less likely to seek help from doctors, says Nisbit.
“I’ve worked with people who were on the lowest carb diet and I have seen them die in a matter of weeks,” he says.
“The evidence is very clear that when you eat carbohydrates, you get a bigger boost to your heart and your risk is much lower.”
Avoid foods that contain fats.
Fat is the main contributor to heart disease and is responsible for 40 per cent of all deaths in the UK.
Fat causes plaque buildup in your arteries, which can be blocked by anti-inflammatory drugs.
This can make you more likely.
But there’s another factor that may be playing a part.
You may have more inflammation in your body, which is known to be associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
“We know that inflammation can cause all sorts of damage to your blood vessels, so you may be more likely than other people to develop heart disease if you have a condition like type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease.”
For example, people who smoke have an increased risk for heart attacks and strokes.
However the same person who has a low risk of becoming a smoker also has a high risk of having heart disease because of inflammation in their arteries, says Parnassa.
That can explain why, even though people with a lower risk of a heart attack are less at risk of being diagnosed with it, they are still at risk because they may have higher levels of inflammation, Parnas says.
So eating a low-fat diet, including nuts and fruit, may help you reduce your risk.
And if you are already overweight, you should consider a low carbohydrate diet.
You’re more likely if you already have a heart condition to develop a heart disease yourself, Pernassa says.
That means eating fewer carbs, less saturated fats, and a lower glycemic index, which means your blood sugars will stay low for longer.
So keep eating the right foods, and get enough exercise.
“Exercise is a key to managing your cardiovascular risk,” says Smith.
And when you do exercise, Smith says, it can help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
And exercise also helps you manage your diabetes.
“You need to exercise to reduce the risk of diabetes,” she says.
She adds: “When you’re exercising, you’re reducing the risk for type 2 [diabetes] and cardiovascular risk, but also reducing the incidence of heart attacks.”
Source: Al Jazeera English