Fast Facts

Young man grabbing chest in pain

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States, causing one in every four male deaths.
  • About 10% of all white men, 8% of black men, and 6% of Latin American men have coronary heart disease.
  • A man's risk of heart disease begins to rise greatly starting at age 45.
  • Half of the men who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have no previous symptoms.
  • Between 70% and 89% of sudden cardiac events occur in men.

Risk Factors

Man receiving treatment

High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease. Other medical conditions and lifestyle choices that increase your risk for heart disease include:

  • Diabetes
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Poor diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Excessive alcohol use

You can lower your risk of heart disease and many other health conditions by making important lifestyle changes.

  • Don't smoke or use other tobacco products. If you smoke, get help quitting.
  • Get your blood pressure checked at least every two years. If you have high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s advice on how to lower it and keep it under control.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Learn about your body mass index, or BMI.
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and foods that are high in fiber. Limit foods high in saturated fat, cholesterol, trans fat, and sodium.
  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which causes high blood pressure.
  • Make physical activity a habit. Learn more about the amounts and types of activity that can help.
  • Control diabetes, if you have it. Make sure to follow your doctor's instructions for medications and lifestyle changes.
  • Talk to your doctor about taking aspirin. It is recommended that men ages 45 to 79 take aspirin to lower their risk of heart attack when the benefit outweighs the possible harm of gastrointestinal bleeding. Discuss your personal risk of both heart disease and gastrointestinal bleeding with your doctor.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention