It beats for you and your loved ones – Heart Foundation puts a spotlight on men’s heart health

This June the Heart Foundation is putting a spotlight on men’s heart health by asking men to get proactive and take care of their heart health to be around for their loved ones.

Even though our men's lives are cut short by four years compared with women, men are much less likely to talk to their doctor or whānau about their health.

More than 3,700 men in New Zealand die of heart disease each year, and Māori and Pacific men are even more impacted by heart disease, with the mortality rate among Māori more than two times that of non-Māori.

Heart Foundation Medical Director Associate Professor Gerry Devlin says that many men only think about their health when there is a problem, and the reality is that in some cases it can be too late.

“There are lots of important reasons for men to make their heart health a priority – such as being able to work to support the family, seeing their children and grandchildren grow older or being well enough to spend time with family and friends,” says Gerry.

There are a number of risk factors that are known to increase the likelihood of developing heart disease. But making lifestyle changes, such as increasing physical activity, eating healthily, and quitting smoking, mean men can improve their overall risk.

“Men really do need to become aware of their own heart health and how they can maintain this.”

“Although there are risk factors you can’t change, like your age and ethnicity, there’s lots you can change. These include your blood pressure, cholesterol, what you eat and drink, whether you smoke, and how much you move,” says Gerry.

A positive step men can take is to try My Heart Check, a free online tool that shows people how their heart age compares to their actual age and shares tips to help improve their heart health.

“Being proactive can help men reduce the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and a range of other health conditions,” he adds.

Find out about your risk of heart disease and discuss how you can improve your heart health with your health care professional.

Men's Heart Health 2021