Coronary heart disease is caused by a buildup of plaque in the arteries to the heart, affecting the flow of blood and oxygen. It's the most common type of heart disease and affects more men than women."Half of the men who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have no previous symptoms," says Alan Gertler, associate professor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Hardening of the arteries develops over time. Its causes include: smoking, uncontrolled hypertension, obesity, high cholesterol, and inactivity.
Factors that cannot be changed are family history, age and gender.
- Gertler urges YOUNG men to take part in regular aerobic activity for 30 to 40 minutes, four to five times a week.
- Men should watch their waistlines and keep them below 40 inches.
- Gertler is a proponent of the Mediterranean diet.
- Gertler pushes men to quit smoking. If they abstain for 5 years, their risk of having a 'heart event' becomes closer to that of someone who never smoked.
He points people towards sites such as www.heart.org for information.