Taking a closer look at the number one killer of men in the U.S.

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one out of every four deaths in men in the United States is caused by heart disease. In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death in men in the United States.

This is Men's Health Week across the nation and I wanted to know why heart disease is the leading killer of men. So, I talked to Dr. Jason Boothe of Novant Health.

"I think it's lifestyle, definitely. It falls under everything else - diabetes, obesity, all of those things related to it," Dr. Boothe said. "Lifestyle is a big issue. But also, we can't neglect genetics. And so we can't neglect your mom, your dad, your grandparents, the implication of passing down those kind of genetic things to you as far as high cholesterol, hypertension. It's prevalent in your generation, the generation before you, these things get passed down to you."

You can't do anything about your genes, but there are other things you can do. And take note that I said "things."

"There's not one thing that encompasses everything," Dr. Boothe said. "You really need to do a lot of things in order to maintain your health."

And with that said, here are Dr. Boothe's top five recommendations for maintaining good health:

  1. Eat a healthy diet
  2. Absolutely no tobacco
  3. Alcohol only in moderation
  4. Exercise regularly, at least 150 minutes a week
  5. Go to a doctor at least once a year for a complete checkup

It's your choice. If you do those things - all things being equal - you have a greater chance of avoiding heart disease than someone who doesn't.

Interestingly enough, heart disease is also the number one killer of women in the United States. However, between 70 and 89 percent of all sudden cardiac events occur in men, while the figure is 30 percent or less in women.

Wednesday we continue our series of men's health issues. We're going to talk about the cancer that men don't want to talk about - and we're not talking prostate cancer.

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