WHAT: June 12-18 is National Men’s Health Week and experts from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) are available to discuss research findings related to some of the more serious medical challenges that disproportionately affect men—sleep apnea, excess belly fat, and high blood pressure. All are linked to an increased risk for heart disease. The good news is that men can take steps now to prevent these problems or detect and treat them early enough to act against heart disease.
Understanding sleep apnea: Linked to an increased risk of stroke in men
Loud and frequent snoring is not just an annoyance but may be a sign of a serious health problem called sleep apnea. According to an NHLBI study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, the condition is associated with an increased risk of stroke in middle-aged and older men.
WHO: Michael J. Twery, Ph.D., director of the NIH National Center on Sleep Disorders Research, which is administered by the NHLBI.
Attacking belly fat by reducing sugary drinks
Excess belly fat often increases at midlife, but aging may not always be driving the increase. An NHLBI-supported study in Circulation linked regular consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks (such as sodas and fruit drinks) to increased visceral fat, a type of body fat that may contribute to a higher risk of diabetes and heart disease.
WHO: Jiantao Ma, M.D., Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow, Population Sciences Branch, Framingham Heart Study, NHLBI
Fighting high blood pressure using the DASH diet
Men are more likely than women to develop high blood pressure (also known as hypertension), before age 55. Studies show that men can successfully lower their pressure by following the DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Developed with help from the NHLBI, the DASH diet recommends eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean protein, and low-sugar foods. NHLBI-funded research shows men with high blood pressure can get an extra health boost by combining DASH with sodium reduction, exercise, and weight loss.
WHO: Janet de Jesus, M.S., R.D., is a nutritionist with the Center for Translation Research and Implementation Science (CTRIS), NHLBI, NIH