Men who make healthy lifestyle choices have significantly lower chances of suffering from heart diseases. The heart is actually more forgiving than you had presumed, in men. Men who embrace a healthy lifestyle – those who work to maintain ideal body weight through diet and exercise, do not smoke and limit their alcohol intake within acceptable limits, can actually prevent four out of five coronary events in life. A recent study stated the same was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Statistics reveal that mortality from heart diseases have reduced in the recent years. This decline is attributed to the use of medical therapies rather than healthy lifestyle choices. The researchers are of the opinion that prevention of heart problem in men is possible through healthy lifestyle choices and this way the person will also be able to avoid the potential side effects of medication. It is also cost effective and can effective help in reducing coronary heart diseases issues in the population at large.
For this study, researchers observed and examined as many as 20721 healthy participants for over 11 years. These participants were Swedish men between the ages of 45 to 79. Over the course of 11 years of observation, their lifestyle choices were assessed through a questionnaire that had questions related to their diet, alcohol intake, smoking habits, level of physical activity and abdominal adiposity (belly fat). The study revealed that participants who were non- smokers, had minimal alcohol intake, who walked or cycled for at least 30-40 minutes per day, had a waist circumference below 95 centimeters exercised at least one hour per week, and whose diet consisted of a regular consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, reduced-fat dairy products, whole grains and fish, were at the lowest risk.
The researchers came to the conclusion that there was clear reduction in risk for coronary heart problems for each individual lifestyle factor that the participants practiced. For example, people who had a low-risk diet together with limited alcohol consumption had an estimated 35 percent lower risk of heart attack in comparison to the high-risk group, those who practice none of stated low-risk factors. Also, men who embraced a low risk diet, had alcohol in moderation, did not smoke, were physically active and had a low amount of abdominal fat had an 86 % lower risk of suffering from coronary heart diseases. Similar results were found in men with hypertension and high cholesterol levels.
Agneta Akesson, Ph.D., Associate Professor at the Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, and lead author of the study said that we have always known that healthy lifestyle choices would lead to a reduction in heart attacks. But, the surprising finding here is how drastically the risk reduces due to these factors.
The authors also revealed that less than 2% Americans conform to habits that are ideal for cardiovascular health. To help promote good heart health, there should be programs specifically designed for men which help them to promote low-risk lifestyle choices. Such programs could also reduce the risk of heart problems in men who are already under medication.
The earlier one adopts healthy lifestyle in their life, the better it is. However, one needs to understand that such lifestyle behaviors can be changed for the good health of the heart at any time. Choosing low-risk life style choices over high risk habits can have a great impact on the cardiovascular health of a person, especially men.