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Men’s Health Month: Heart Health

With Father’s Day as an annual reminder of the important men in our lives, June is designated Men’s Health Month. While many men think about the prostate when they hear of men’s health (see a previous post about this:, a more appropriate first thought would be heart disease.

Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death for men and women alike, but it is more common in men and is particularly dangerous because men are less likely to see a primary care physician. The symptoms of a heart attack--chest pain or pressure that sometimes radiates to the jaw or left arm, shortness of breath and/or lightheadedness--are widely known and feared, but waiting for a heart attack to start seeing a doctor isn’t the optimum approach.

The goal in primary care for men is to reduce the risk for heart attacks and other heart disease. This starts with identifying risk factors--smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar and physical inactivity--for heart disease and modifying them. In many cases, your primary care provider might advise you to lose weight or exercise more or prescribe medications to help with smoking cessation, lowering blood pressure or lowering cholesterol.

Most men want to maintain a healthy-looking physique, but for some, the kick in the direction to healthy behavior is a high blood pressure measurement or abnormal cholesterol level. While it isn’t hard to look around the room and find overweight men to make it “normal,” we don’t all walk around with our blood pressure and cholesterol numbers stamped on our foreheads. Knowing these numbers can be a real wake up call.

Ignorance isn’t bliss. If you are a man not regularly seeing a physician, the time to start is now. If your father, brother, son, husband, boyfriend or another man important to you is avoiding a checkup, perhaps Men’s Health Month is the perfect opportunity to nudge them in the right direction!


Information provided by Philip Pippin, MD, a board-certified family medicine physician at UT Health North Campus Tyler. For more information, visit or call 903-877-7200.



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