Heart Disease

The Big Heart Disease Lie

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Heart disease, or coronary artery disease, is a result of improper function of the heart and blood vessels. There are many forms of heart disease. Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and hypertension (high blood pressure) are two of the most common. Fat deposits disrupt the flow of blood to the heart muscle, increasing the risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack).

cancer: uncontrolled cell growth diabetes: inability to regulate level of sugar in the blood heart disease: any disorder of the heart or its blood supply, including heart attack, atherosclerosis, and coronary artery disease hypertension: high blood pressure prostate: male gland surrounding the urethra that contributes fluid to the semen etiology: origin and development of a disease lifestyle: set of choices about diet, exercise, job type, leisure activities, and other aspects of life diet: the total daily food intake, or the types of foods eaten fiber: indigestible plant material which aids digestion by providing bulk genetics: inheritance through genes carbohydrate: food molecule made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, including sugars and starches metabolize: processing of a nutrient insulin: hormone released by the pancreas to regulate level of sugar in the blood hormone: molecules produced by one set of cells that influence the function of another set of cells glucose: a simple sugar; the most commonly used fuel in cells energy: technically, the ability to perform work; the content of a substance that allows it to be useful as a fuel protein: complex molecule composed of amino acids that performs vital functions in the cell; necessary part of the diet artery: blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart toward the body tissues atherosclerosis: build-up of deposits within the blood vessels high blood pressure: elevation of the pressure in the bloodstream maintained by the heart heart attack: loss of blood supply to part of the heart, resulting in death of heart muscle

According to the National Cancer Institute, men are approximately 1.5 times as likely as women to develop colorectal cancer or heart disease. Both diseases may be prevented by eating well. The convenience and economic appeal of fast foods, such as hot dogs, can lead to poor dietary habits. [Royalty-Free/Corbis. Reproduced by permission.]

HDL: high density lipoprotein, a blood protein that carries cholesterol cholesterol: multi-ringed molecule found in animal cell membranes; a type of lipid

Heart disease is the number one cause of death for men. According to the American Heart Association, 440,175 men died of heart disease in 2000. Apart from just being male, other risk factors are being forty-five years of age and older, low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL—the "good" cholesterol ), high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL—the "bad" cholesterol), hypertension, smoking, excess body fat, diabetes, and a family history of heart disease.

The most important thing men should do to prevent heart disease is stop smoking and manage their weight. In terms of diet, dietitians recommend that men include more lean and healthier protein foods in their diets—such as white meat chicken and turkey, and sirloin instead of filet mignon. Additionally, eating fatty fish (e.g., salmon or mackerel) twice a week may have a cardioprotective effect. Baking and broiling are preferred over deep fat frying.

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