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One out of every two men aged 40 and under will develop coronary heart disease (CHD) in their lifetime, according to National Institutes of Health.  Further, research indicates that the risk of CHD is still high at age 70.  Of men age 70 and higher, one out of three men and will develop coronary heart disease.

Coronary heart disease is the most common form of heart affliction, affecting 12 million to 13 million Americans.  It occurs when the coronary arteries become narrowed or clogged and cannot supply enough oxygen-rich blood to the heart. This condition will lead to angina (chest pain) and heart attacks. (Molitor, 2006)

Last year, 930,000 Americans died from heart disease, making it the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. But thousands more men die from heart disease every year than women, and they die at an earlier age. A

ccording to the Department of Health and Human Services, men are 30% more likely to suffer a stroke than are women, making it the third-leading cause of death in men. Both heart disease and stroke are cardiovascular diseases, or diseases of the blood vessels. One in three men can expect to develop some major cardiovascular disease before the age of 60.  (Orth-Gomer & Schneiderman, 1996)

Routine health care is a major contributing factor to good health.  Regular medical exams are critical to the early detection of many potentially fatal diseases. Statistically, men visit the doctor less often and utilize significantly fewer health care services.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, twice as many men as women have no regular source of medical care. “Over half (53%) of men aged 18 to 29 years do not have a regular physician, compared with one-third (33%) of women in this age group; among 30- to 44-year-olds, two of five (38%) men and one of five (22%) women lack a regular physician.

  Among adults over most women’s childbearing age, men are less likely to have a regular physician. One in four (24%) men aged 45 to 64 years lacks a regular doctor.

Men represent 65% of those who have not visited a physician in two to five years and 70% of those who have not done so in more than five years.” (Courtenay, 2000) Even when men are experiencing health problems, they are less likely to seek the assistance of a physician.  Lack of health insurance coverage is also a deterrent.

Routine health care appointments increase the likelihood that unknown conditions, i.e. hypertension, will be discovered and resolved prior to a heart attack or stroke.  People without insurance are at increased risk of death, regardless of whether they are employed.

“Having coverage is also one of the most important predictors of receiving clinical preventive services, such as periodic health exams and blood and cholesterol screenings, and men with full coverage are nearly two to three times more likely to receive recommended preventive services than men whose plans do not cover these services.” (Krantz ; Mcceney, 2002)

As individuals age, routine health care screenings become even more important for the early detection of disease and for discovering conditions that are generally detected through screening.

Annual medical checkups are one of the most consistent predictors of ever having a variety of cancer screening tests or of having had a recent test.  Because men do not receive regular health care, their health problems tend to be very serious when they finally do seek help. (Krantz ; Mcceney, 2002)

Men are more likely to display rage, or vent their tempers than women do.  “That’s not a good thing.  Emotional outbursts can increase blood pressure, heart rate and adrenalin levels. It may have worked when we lived in the forest, and you had to raise your voice to alert the herd.

It’s barbaric behavior today. Men need to learn to modulate their behavior, channel their emotions and convert their tempers to compassion.”

(Consedine, et. al., 2004)  Long-term studies indicate that among young men with quick tempers and hostile feelings, the risks was significantly higher than their less angry colleagues to have a heart attack or other cardiovascular disease before 55 years of age. (Consedine, et.al., 2004)

Men develop risks for heart disease (including stroke) and suffer heart attacks at a younger age than women do. In men, the risk of having a heart attack increases after age 45.

Extensive clinical and statistical studies have identified several factors that increase the risk of coronary heart disease and heart attack. Major risk factors are those that research has shown significantly increase the risk of heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease. Other factors are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, but their significance and prevalence haven’t yet been precisely determined.  (FDA Consumer, 2006)

Typically, men are more physically active than women, but this is not consistent across the lifespan.  “At work, only 49% of men are physically active compared to 65% of women who are. Among those aged 18 to 34 years, equal numbers of women and men engage in little or no physical activity, and among those aged 35 to 54 years, the number is higher for men (61%) than it is for women (57%).

This sedentary lifestyle, in middle age contributes to men’s greater risk of heart disease.” (Weinhold, 2004) Men account for nearly three of four persons who die from heart attacks under age 65.

Over one-third of all heart disease deaths are attributed to physical inactivity, more than those attributed to smoking, excess weight, or hypertension. Among older adults, women maintain their levels of physical activity over time while levels among men decrease significantly. (Weinhold, 2004)

Historically, men were determined to be at a higher risk of heart attacks.  Recently, research has noted a shift from gender to economics.  Currently, men, women, even children are at risk because 80% of those at risk come from low and middle-income families where healthy dietary and lifestyle habits are difficult to maintain.

“The emphasis in heart disease risk factors has shifted away from genetic disposition to lifestyle and diets. What this means is that no one is immune from heart disease because of gender and age. What it also means is that everyone has the ability to prevent heart disease by initiating active lifestyle changes.”  (Price, 2002)

References

Consedine, N. S., Magai, C., & Chin, S. (2004). Hostility and Anxiety Differentially Predict Cardiovascular Disease in Men and Women. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, 50(1-2), 63+. Retrieved November 20, 2006, from Questia database: http://questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5002104180

Courtenay, W. H. (2000). Behavioral Factors Associated with Disease, Injury, and Death among Men: Evidence and Implications for Prevention. The Journal of Men’s Studies, 9(1), 81. Retrieved November 20, 2006, from Questia database: http://questia.com/PM.qst?a=o;d=5001121509

Daniels, N., Kennedy, B. P., ; Kawachi, I. (1999). Why Justice Is Good for Our Health: The Social Determinants of Health Inequalities. Daedalus, 128(4), 215. Retrieved November 20, 2006, from Questia database: http://questia.com/PM.qst?a=o;d=5001867227

Krantz, D. S., ; Mcceney, M. K. (2002). Effects of Psychological and Social Factors on Organic Disease: A Critical Assessment of Research on Coronary Heart Disease. 341+. Retrieved November 20, 2006, from Questia database: http://questia.com/PM.qst?a=o;d=5000597876

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