June is Men’s Health Awareness Month, raising awareness for something that doesn’t get talked about enough. Cases of heart disease, peripheral artery disease, and abdominal aortic aneurysms are significantly higher in men as compared to women. These are serious diseases that can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated at the right time.
Not only is there a need for awareness of the symptoms, but also regular check-ups because many of these diseases may not have any outward symptoms. Medical reports may reveal something that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. Learn more about these three vascular diseases and how to recognize and treat them here.
An abdominal aortic aneurysm, often called AAA, is a swelling of the aorta. As the aorta is the main blood vessel that goes from the heart to the chest and stomach, you may notice a pulsing feeling near your belly button. However, AAA typically grows slowly and without any symptoms.
AAA can be life-threatening if it bursts. A small AAA may be monitored for growth, but a large or fast-growing AAA ought to be treated with surgery. Keep an eye on your blood pressure and cholesterol to prevent AAA.
Peripheral Artery Disease
PAD is caused by a buildup of plaque in the arteries supplying blood to your legs. Obesity, smoking, diabetes, and high cholesterol can all lead to PAD. In extreme cases, PAD can lead to gangrene, as without adequate blood supply, the tissue and muscles start to decompose. This often leads to leg amputation.
PAD has no cure, but managing some of the causes can help stall the progress. Managing your weight and cholesterol, getting your diabetes under control, and quitting smoking can halt the progress of the disease.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in men in the United States. The statistics are astounding. In 2019, a staggering 357,761 men died due to heart failure. That’s 1 in every 4 deaths.
The symptoms of heart disease will usually be apparent when it may be too late: chest pain, upper back and shoulder pain, difficulty breathing, dizziness, nausea, and heartburn. If you suffer from an arrhythmia or heart palpitations, these symptoms usually indicate that something is terribly wrong.
Heart disease may not always be accompanied by symptoms. If you smoke, have high cholesterol or blood pressure, or have limited physical activity, you may be at risk for heart disease.
You can reduce the risk by taking better care of your health: eat healthily, quit smoking, reduce the amount of alcohol you consume, get more exercise, and check your blood pressure regularly.
What About Varicose Veins?
The idea that varicose veins only affect women is a myth; it affects a large number of men as well. Though varicose veins target men slightly less than women, men get it often. It can be unsightly and painful, making strenuous activity difficult. In extreme cases, it can make walking difficult as well.
Symptoms include cramping muscles, achy legs, burning, throbbing, or itchiness in the legs. It may be hard to put your full weight on your legs.
Adding nuts, seeds, and legumes to your diet; doing light exercise; and wearing compression socks can help.
Visit Your Doctor
Along with healthy lifestyle choices and more physical activity, it is important that you visit your doctor every six months for a full medical exam. Many diseases are called silent killers because they aren’t always accompanied by noticeable symptoms. A regular check-up ensures that your doctor is aware of your medical issues and can spot anything potentially harmful. Regardless of it being Men’s Health Awareness Month, taking care of your health is essential. Contact us at Heart of Dixie for phenomenal vein and vascular care today.