Just being male causes heart risk

In the lead-up to Men’s Health Week in Bendigo, the Addy and Bendigo Community Health Services are running a series of articles about men’s health. Nurse Peter Strange delves into all things cardiovascular. 

As a men’s health nurse practitioner in Bendigo, I get to talk to a lot of blokes, and I’ve gained some insight into men’s health issues over the years that I would like to share with you. 

Let’s start with cardiovascular disease for the first article, because this disease is the leading cause of death for men in Australia. 

Cardiovascular disease is the term used for heart, stroke and blood vessel diseases. 

There has been a lot of publicity about the risk factors for cardiovascular disease and I’m sure you’ve heard of most. 

Let’s divide them into two sections, non-modifiable risk factors (stuff that you can do little about) and modifiable risk factors (this is the stuff we can all work on). But is this a men’s health issue? 

The three non-modifiable risk factors are being male (there you go), having a positive family history of cardiovascular disease and growing older. 

Research indicates that females have some hormonal protection against cardiovascular disease in comparison to males. Just our luck. 

Even though a family history is considered a non-modifiable risk factor there is one thing we can do about it and that’s find out about it. If you don’t know about your family history, please find out about it and then let your GP know. 

Let’s now list the modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease: 

Smoking, nutrition, alcohol, physical inactivity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and being overweight. Plenty to work on. 

Another thing about risk factors is they have a compounding effect. 

If one of these risk factors is a little bit elevated and the rest are normal then things may not be too bad. But if two or three or four of these factors are up then they compound the problem, and you may be in big trouble. 

The four big ones are smoking, elevated cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and diabetes. 

If you wish to discuss any of these issues, or get tested, call Bendigo Community Health Services on 5434 4300 or drop into our Eaglehawk site in Seymoure Street.

n People wanting more information on Men’s Health Week can call 5448 1600.

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