Salvatore J. Giorgianni Jr.

Salvatore J. Giorgianni Jr. is chair of APHA Men’s Health Caucus and a science advisory for Men’s Health Network. Photo by Salvatore J. Giorgianni Jr.

June is Men’s Health Month, which seeks “to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.”

One of the foremost preventable diseases in the U.S. is cardiovascular disease, which according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is responsible for one in every four male deaths. In 2009, heart disease killed over 300,000 men, and it continues to kill hundreds of thousands of men each year.

“Men have to take charge of their health,” said Salvatore J. Giorgianni Jr., PharmD, BSc, APHA Men’s Health Caucus chair, and science advisory for Men’s Health Network. “You are responsible for your own health outcomes.”

Even if no symptoms are present, heart disease is still a risk. Roughly 50 percent of men who die from heart disease die suddenly and have no previous symptoms.

Giorgianni also points out an almost 5 percent difference in life expectancy between men and women, with women living longer, and according to the CDC, 70 to 89 percent of sudden cardiac events occur in men.

Risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol and smoking, which nearly half of Americans have. Other risk factors include obesity, poor diet, diabetes, physical inactivity and excessive alcohol use.

According to Giorgianni, men have to recognize that it is their own responsibility to keep themselves healthy.

For more information on men’s health and heart disease, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as Men’s Health Network.