Bruce Johnson
Heart Disease & Men

Know The Heart Attack Risk Factors In Men

The American Heart Association has some sobering information about the heart attack risk factors in men. In the United States, 386,436 males died from some form of cardiovascular disease in 2009. Almost half (49%) were men. African-American men die at a higher rate than Caucasian men ( 281.4 for white males, 387.0 for black males).

Change What You Can!

Heart attack risk factors include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, cigarette smoking, overweight/obesity, poor diet, physical inactivity and alcohol use. HHS says nine of ten patients have at least one of the risk factors. Most have more than one.

If cardiovascular disease runs in your family, doctors recommend that you treat yourself as high risk. Make some changes. Beginning today.

The U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) has launched the Million Hearts campaign; the goal is to prevent strokes and heart attacks by one million by 2017.

Hurst's heat attack risk factors

Heart to Heart subject Hurst Bousegard of New Orleans, LA

Hurst Bousegard, a heart attack survivor from New Orleans knew he was a candidate for a coronary. In Chapter 4 of Heart to Heart, Hurst recalls for author C. Bruce Johnson how his grandfather died at age 35 of a heart attack and how his father,"Big Hurst," succumbed to the same disease, "due to his heavy smoking, family history and lack of physical activity." These are among the classic heart attack risk factors.

Heart attack survivor in Heart to Heart

Heart to Heart subject Neal Gregory of Washington, DC

Neal Gregory, another survivor, now living with a pacemaker, is featured in Chapter 10 of Heart to Heart. A native of Tupelo, Mississippi, Gregory recalls that his mother, like his aunts and many family friends, was a great southern cook. "The family ate lots of fried foods and all of the vegetables were cooked in pork fatback with a sliver of lean meat. Everything was fried, biscuits, gravy. Lots of rich desserts." 

Know the symptoms of an oncoming heart attack. Half of the victims say they had no warning signs or perhaps didn't heed them.

The American Heart Association says the warning signs for men include chest pain and/or discomfort, pain in one or both arms, shortness of breath, cold sweat, nausea, and lightheadedness.

In Chapter 2 of Heart to Heart, Steve Sobleman, a Baltimore psychiatrist, recalls how he ignored his early warning signs. He was attending an Orioles baseball game. Johnson writes, "At one point, Steve got up up to go for a beer. The short climb up the stairs to the concession stand left him grasping for air. 'God am I so out of shape,' he told his friend. 'I am so out of breath.' "

Bruce Johnson and his longtime Emmy winning news camera man Kline Mengle

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