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National Men’s Health Week: lower your blood pressure


Jun. 16, 2015 Today

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of men — and not just older men who are out of shape. You’d probably be surprised to know that ahead of cancer, heart disease takes the lives of more than 375,000 Americans per year, according to the American Heart Association.

As part of the 2015 Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics Update, the AHA reported that heart disease accounts for one in seven deaths, and takes a life roughly every 90 seconds. And Bill Phillips, editor-in-chief of Men’s Health and author of “The Better Man Project,” says men aren’t paying enough attention to these startling numbers. Women on the other hand, he says, are three times more likely to visit a doctor. This alone is the largest mistake that men make when it comes to maintaining a healthy body.

To kick off Men’s Health Week, which is celebrated from June 15 to 21, TODAY.com spoke exclusively with Phillips about the risks of poor health habits. Here’s what we learned.

Having low blood pressure is crucial to your health. The inverse leads to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke and dementia, among other issues.

“Blood pressure indicates the force of your circulating blood on the walls of your vessels. The top number [systolic] is the pressure created when the heart muscle contracts. The bottom number [diastolic] is the pressure between beats, when the heart is resting. Anything over 120/80 indicates an underlying problem. Either the heart is malfunctioning or your arteries are narrowing.”

The major mistake men make when it comes to health is…

“Ignoring it! The No. 1 excuse for men: ‘I don’t have time.’ Reality is, they’re either in denial about their health, or afraid of what the doctor might tell them. Men are problem solvers by nature, so if they don’t see a specific problem, they assume they’re fine.”

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