If you are a man in your 30s, 40s, or beyond, June probably means a few things to you. Summer is getting into swing, and you may be looking forward to spending more time outdoors, attending local events, or heading off on a well-deserved vacation. Father’s Day also falls in the middle of June, giving dads an opportunity to stock up on cards and ties. But, June is particularly important for men because it is also National Men’s Health Month.
The health of American men should be a critical point of focus for us all. On average, men die 5 years earlier than women, are more largely impacted by the nation’s ten leading causes of death, and are far less likely to visit a physician. Men are more likely to suffer from cancer, workplace injuries, stroke, and suicide. However, the leading cause of death across the board is heart disease, and the key to helping men live healthier and longer lives is learning how to identify the potential warning signs of a cardiovascular problem.
Just because you don’t experience chest pain doesn’t mean that a heart problem is not lurking. Here are several other symptoms of which men should be mindful:
Nausea, Indigestion, and Heartburn as Heart Symptoms
Of course, there can be many causes of these symptoms. Perhaps you’ve simply eaten something that didn’t agree with you. However, they are also sometimes reported by those suffering a heart attack, and while they are more commonly noted in women, men can experience the same signs as well. To be safe, speak to your doctor about your concerns if you have these in conjunction with any other heart-related symptoms or with a previously diagnosed heart condition.
Dizziness and Light-Headedness as Heart Symptoms
If you’ve ever stood up too quickly or are susceptible to motion sickness, you’ve experienced dizziness. Often, it is fleeting and the cause easily identifiable. However, sudden changes in blood pressure and circulation associated with heart attack, cardiomyopathy, and arrhythmia can also lead to a feeling of dizziness or light-headedness.
Fatigue and Exhaustion as Heart Symptoms
We all get tired every now and then, but extreme and continuous fatigue can sometimes indicate an underlying health condition. Likewise, struggling to complete tasks that were never problematic before could also be an indicator of a heart problem. If you are suddenly finding yourself winded and tired after simple activities such as climbing stairs or carrying groceries, see your doctor as quickly as possible.
Swelling Feet and Legs as a Heart Symptom
When the heart is unable pump as strongly as it should, blood can back up into the veins in the lower extremities, resulting in swelling. In cases of heart failure, bloating may also occur if the kidneys are impacted and cannot remove excess water and sodium. Likewise, other conditions that may impact the heart such as peripheral artery disease (PAD) can also occur in the feet and legs with symptoms such as cramping or numbness. For this reason, it is important to take note of any changes, not only swelling, and discuss them with your doctor.
In our culture, health and vitality are often synonymous with masculinity. Yet, men are being affected by serious health conditions such as heart disease at far higher rates than women. In honor of Men’s Health Month, be part of the change. Schedule an appointment with your doctor, begin keeping tabs on your health, and make healthy lifestyle choices. Doing so could help you live a longer, stronger, more enjoyable life.