Home Heart Health News Heart problems with local politicians highlight importance of heart health for men

Heart problems with local politicians highlight importance of heart health for men

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Heart problems with local politicians highlight importance of heart health for men

Two Republican politicians are dealing with health issues related to heart complications.

Two Republican politicians are dealing with health issues related to heart complications.

Both West Virginia Delegate Pat McGeehan and U.S. Senate candidate Jack Newbrough have made headlines in recent weeks for cardiac health issues.

Two men, two different heart issues; both serious. But this should be a reminder to all to get checked - especially men - who are predisposed to heart attacks and cardiac health complications.

McGeehan is undergoing heart surgery this month for hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy, a genetic condition that causes the heart walls to thicken and restrict blood flow. Newbrough just got out of the hospital after suffering a mild heart attack. He had a 40 percent blockage. Newbrough was fortunate he identified the symptoms and got to a hospital.

"Half of patients will have a typical chest pain that we see in the movies, like chest pain, tightness and bending down or pain going down their left arm. Only half of them will have that. The rest of them will have a simple neck pain, or a jaw pain, or pain in the back, or no pain at all,” said Weirton Medical Center Chief Medical Officer and Cardiologist Dr. Vardhan Reddy, M.D.

Diabetics are most likely to suffer these so-called silent heart attacks. There are ways to lessen the severity of and reduce the chances of a heart attack. Those who lead sedentary lives or eat high amounts of fats and carbs are highest at risk.

"And smoking is a major risk factor as well,” Reddy said.

The lifestyle risks of an acute heart attack: a lack of exercise. For a chronic condition, the mistake can be any exercise.

"In (a case of) hypertrophy, it blocks (the heart valve). And when it blocks its - even the shortest exercise can cause a chest pain,” Reddy said.

There's one lifestyle change anyone can make to significantly reduce their risk: stop smoking.

"Unfortunately, in this Ohio Valley, we have almost 70 to 80 percent of them are smokers,” Reddy said. “It not only affects your heart, it affects your arteries; it can cause a stroke; affects your legs that causes gangrene; affects your stomach that causes ulcer; affect your bladder for cancer. I don't think anybody should be smoking at all."

Reddy says be ready. Men 40 or older should get an initial checkup. Men 50 or older, an annual heart check. If you have a congenital heart condition or family history of heart issues, get to the doctor even more frequently.

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