Time to Man Up and Become Heart Smart

Michael Burley, MD, Cardiologist with Steward Medical Group outlines some common heart health mistakes made by men.

When it comes to heart health, some men can often slip up despite the best of intentions. The warning signs are there but are either ignored or simply unknown.

Michael Burley, MD, Cardiologist with Steward Medical Group, identified some common areas that typically confuse men and offers advice on how to get on a healthy track.

“Heart disease is a prominent problem for men. Being aware of the signs plays a substantial role in the possible outcomes and treatment,” he said.

Heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and irregular heartbeat are among the top health issues men face.

So, what are some commons mistakes many men make?

Skipping Annual Checkups and Screenings

According to Dr. Burley, men typically visit their physician less than women. “By doing so, men are less likely to get routine exams for things like blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar – which are all linked to heart health,” he said.

Lack of check-ups also leads to the inability to report symptoms like fatigue and chest pain, essentially ignoring these and other signs and symptoms of a potential heart attack.

“If you’re unable to recall the last time you had a physical exam, it would be in your best interest to try and get one as soon as possible. If something feels off, don’t wait, take immediate action,” Dr. Burley said.

Age: Too Young to Have a Heart Attack

Many times, men believe they are not old enough to suffer from a heart attack. This is simply false.

“Young and middle-aged people can develop heart issues. Unfortunately, we are seeing a rise of obesity and type 2 diabetes at a younger age, even here in the Mahoning Valley. Exercise, eating a healthy diet, not smoking – these are all things that should be occurring, said Dr. Burley who also suggests monitoring weight control and controlling high blood pressure and/or cholesterol.

Genetics: There’s Nothing I can do

“A common mistake is thinking nothing can be done due to genetics. Yes, it’s a risk factor you can’t change, and those with a family history do have a higher risk, but so much can be done to reduce the risk of heart disease, regardless of genetics,” Dr. Burley said. “In most cases, heart disease is a result of poor lifestyle choices – and from those choices, many times, results in heart disease.”

He recommends asking your physician about prevention tactics.

“But again, it comes back to making sure you’re seeing a physician and getting a regular checkup,” Dr. Burley said.

Chest Pain Will Alert Me

It’s true, chest pain is a common symptom of heart attacks in men. But heart attacks often result from subtle symptoms like shortness of breath (with or without chest pain), nausea, light-headedness and discomfort or pain in the jaw, arms, back, neck, or stomach.

“People think they’ll know if they are having a heart attack because they’ll begin to have chest pain – this is a major issue that can be easily avoided by becoming educated about heart health,” he said.

If you, or a family or friend, suspect you are having an attack, call 911 immediately. Dr. Burley is affiliated with both Trumbull Regional Medical Center and Sharon Regional Medical Center.

Dr Burley practices at Steward Health Center, Youngstown, 500 Gypsy Lane, Building B, Suite 101 in Youngstown; Steward Health Center, Austintown 20 Ohltown Road in Austintown; and Hubbard Diagnostic and Specialty Center, 880 West Liberty Street in Hubbard. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Burley at the Youngstown or Austintown location, call 330-884-5790 or 330-534-5400 for the Hubbard location.


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