Heart disease is common among people in the U.S. and it impacts men 20 years earlier than women.
"I know you and I think it's not going to be us, but it's either going to be you or it's going to be me that has heart disease in our future,” according to Dr. John Calhoon, a University Hospital cardiothoracic surgeon and chair of cardiothoracic surgery at UT-Health San Antonio
Dr. Calhoon notes that taking care of your heart isn't that much different than taking care of your car.
"If your car has a U-joint that is going out and you wait ‘til it breaks, you have a terrible accident,” he said. “But if something is wobbling a little bit with your health, come and see us. We are here to help you."
He added that the key is proper maintenance.
"You have to exercise, you have to keep your weight down,” Dr. Calhoon said. “Go see a good primary care doctor, get a good physical. If there are any concerns, have them send you to a cardiologist and get checked."
A family history of heart disease is also a big factor.
"If you are unlucky and have heredity going against you, it really doubles or triples the reason you need to be seen by a physician," Dr. Calhoon explained.
"We should be talking about heart disease not only in the month of February but all year round because it's the most common disease you will find Americans have," said Dr. Hinan Ahmed, director of the University Health System Heart Vascular Institute and Cath Lab.
Dr. Ahmed told us that there are heart disease signs you can look out for.
"Chest pressure, a shortness of breath, and not being able to catch your breath, especially with activity and exercise,” Dr. Ahmed said. “Swelling in the legs, having edema, and dizziness could be the other signs or symptoms of heart disease."
"We tend to ignore problems, want to provide for our families and ourselves, and ignore all the warning signs,” Dr. Calhoon said. “You can't do it. You have to come in and get maintenance. Real men need to wear gowns.”
For more men's health information, call 210-358-3045. You can also find the rest of our Real Men Wear Gowns stories at WearTheGown.com.