Men’s Health Month

3rd November 2016

In honour of Movember – Men’s Health Awareness Month – this post focuses on the most prevalent type of disease amongst men, Cardiovascular Diseases. This post will outline why men are more prone to these diseases as well as how to prevent their onset.

Why are men prone to heart disease?

Increasing amounts of research on the biological functioning of the body have concluded that cells in men and women differ due to chromosomes rather than solely hormones. Therefore, each organ in the body responds differently on the basis of sex, not only organs related to reproduction. This means that men’s and women’s bodies react differently to external stimuli and pressures as well as at the onset of diseases.

Cardiovascular Diseases in Men

More than one in three adult men have some form of Cardiovascular Disease and almost twice as many men die of conditions that affect the cardiovascular system. It is a well known fact amongst the medical community that men suffer from Heart Diseases from a much earlier age than women. “For men, heart disease begins to manifest itself about 10 years earlier than women,” says Gregory Burke, MD, professor and chairman of the Department of Public Health Sciences at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

There are three main reasons for this:

  1. Physical Stress – men engage in higher amounts of physical activity and action throughout their lives
  2. High Blood Pressure – more than one in four adults in the UK have high blood pressure, it usually causes no symptoms and therefore should be checked regularly. High blood pressure can cause damage to arteries and put a strain on your heart.
  3. Specific Hormones – According to a new study published in 2008 by Dr Maciej Tomaszewski at the University of Leicester, men’s higher risk for heart disease may be related to the specific effects of sex hormones.

Preventing the onset

Blood Pressure

Keep your blood pressure under control as high blood pressure puts extra strain on your blood vessels, heart and other organs (such as the brain, kidneys and eyes). Persistent high blood pressure can increase your risk of a number of serious and potentially life-threatening cardiovascular conditions, such as heart disease, heart attacks, strokes and heart failure.


You have probably heard this time and time again but – maintaining a healthy diet is important. The food you eat can decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke. As outlined in the “Tips for a Healthy Heart” blog post, avoid foods high in saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium. Further, do not consume excessive amounts of alcohol as it is linked to multiple types of cancer (mouth, liver, colon, breast) as well as many other health issues. According to current statistics, 1 in 3 men drink more than the safe level of alcohol. Men should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week and should have at least two alcohol-free days a week.

Physical Activity

Staying physically active helps prevent the onset of cardiovascular diseases as well – at least 2½ hours of moderate aerobic physical activity (for example, brisk walking) a week or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous aerobic physical activity (for example, jogging or running) or a combination of both each week. You should also try and work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders) in order to strengthen them.

R Jaura